Family First Friday #21–Stirred up again…

Yesterday morning I was invited to attend seminary.  As I showered and pondered in the early morning hours, my mind went to several interactions I have had with a few people.  These were not recent events, but simply remembered events, that obviously still have some issues for me.  As I let my mind think about the events, my feelings were again hurt and irritated.

Copyright Karen Larsen photography

Then, for my scripture reading that morning, I read this verse at the end of Alma (63:14)
And it came to pass also in this year that there were some dissenters who had gone forth unto the Lamanites; and they were stirred up again to anger against the Nephites.

That verse struck me and I realized that is what I had allowed to happen that very morning.  When I awoke, I had no particular feelings, positive or negative, toward the individuals whom I was thinking about.  But by the time I finished preparing for the day and before my scripture study, I was again ‘stirred up to anger’ against my siblings (because we are all children of our Heavenly Father).

I have seen the same thing as a mother.  Two particular children (in  our case, many different sets of children) have several perceived instances where their feelings have been hurt by the other person (they believe). [This is a BIG pet peeve of mine—others cannot hurt your feelings.  You can be hurt by what they say/do, but you are in charge of your own feelings.  So if you have hurt feelings, it is because of your perceptions of the meaning you attribute to their words/actions.  This could be a post all on its own, so I won’t go into it.  But just know that whenever my children say ‘So and so hurt my feelings,’ we have the entire discussion again.  They love it, I am sure!]

Anyway, they do have hurt feelings.  Because the issue isn’t sufficiently resolved, when the next issue happens, their previous feelings are validated by their new feelings (stirred up again) and the blow-up and interaction is bigger than before.

So my question then becomes, how do we keep ourselves from falling into the trap of ‘being stirred up again’?

Copyright Karen Larsen photography

I think one of the biggest and first issues is to remember that we are in charge of our own feelings.  No one causes us to be upset, hurt, angry.  Those things come from inside of us.  If we can control the things we are thinking about and the meanings we are attributing to those interactions, we can, in effect, control our feelings.  We can choose not to take offense (as this talk from Elder Bednar explains).

Two, we can  recognize that sometimes we just are not going to know what is going on in another person’s head or heart.  We may just have to accept that reality and chalk up their negative and hurtful behaviors to ignorance, a bad day, hurt feelings on their part, problematic things happening in their lives, etc…  Dismissing their behavior is not always a bad thing.  If their negative behavior is going to continue to affect you, you may need to say something to them, in a kind way.

Copyright Karen Larsen photography

Three, keep yourself in a place where you can feel the Spirit of the Lord.  For those of you who are baptized members of the Church, you probably already know those things, but in case you do not, here are some reminders:  Read your scriptures, say your prayers, attend church and the temple, forgive others, choose not to be offended, ask for help as needed through prayer, fast.  For those of you who are not baptized members, these behaviors work just as well, with the exception of attending the temple, you’ll need to be a member to participate on that level.  But you are capable of doing all of the other suggestions.

Four, let bygones be bygones.   Once you have waded through an interaction and decided how you will respond to another person’s behavior and you have done so well, let it go.  Don’t think about it anymore.  Don’t dwell on it.  Don’t remind yourself of what the other person did that hurt your feelings and why you feel justified in your nasty behavior toward them.  Just let it go and remind yourself that the Lord is perfectly just.  Which means, when anyone has done anything wrong (unkind in any way to another person or contrary to the commandments or to their knowledge or understanding of right and wrong) there will be a consequence.  Leave it to the Lord to decide what, when, and how the consequence will be meted out.  You do not have to be judge, jury, or executioner.  Leave all of that to the Lord and know that it will be managed appropriately, whether or not you ever hear about it.

Remember:

“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me [saith the Lord], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

“Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” (3 Ne. 11:29–30.)
As I was looking for the above scripture, I came across this gem of a talk by Elder Nelson in 1989 (that would be the year I learned there was more than one session of General Conference!—-I think I might have missed this one.  Either that or I just wasn’t paying attention!)
Copyright Karen Larsen photography
I was particularly impressed with this passage:
Throughout the world, Saints of the Lord follow Him and His anointed leaders. They have learned that the path of dissent leads to real dangers. The Book of Mormon carries this warning:

“Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and the same information … , having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious … ; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God.” (Alma 47:36.)
I have watched that scripture come to pass in the lives of people I love.  It is so sad!!  Having once been a part of the gospel and receiving of His goodness, peace, and love, and then having turned away from those very blessing, the people do become more hardened and impenitent, and sadly some of them do ‘entirely forget the Lord their God’.
But I guess this is the main point:  If you are experiencing contention or ‘stirred up feelings’ in your family, in your ward, at school, in your neighborhood or community, or even against those you do not know personally, you can immediately know the source where that is coming from.  It is not from the Lord.  That is not His way, or His program, remember, “my doctrine is that such things should be done away“. 

As we do our best to follow the Savior and learn of His way and then try to implement those doctrines and practices into our own lives, we truly will have a peace that surpasses all understanding.  I am so very grateful for the messages of His servants, and to have those available at our fingertips within just a few moments is such a huge gift and blessing!  We will be accountable to put that information into practice!

Have a great weekend!

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