I've been listening to a General Conference talk a lot lately entitled, "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying." In fact, I even referenced it in a previous post. Today, I want to focus on a point made in that talk.
The comedy As You Like It, written by the English playwright William Shakespeare, depicts a dramatic change in a character’s life. An older brother attempts to have his younger brother killed. Even knowing this, the younger brother saves his wicked brother from certain death. When the older brother learns of this undeserved compassion, he is totally and forever changed and has what he calls a “conversion.” Later several women approach the older brother and ask, “Was’t you that did so oft contrive to kill [your brother]?”
I have been thinking a lot about how hard it is for me to see a person as anything else than what I have always known them. This can be as harmless as always treating my youngest sister as a baby :) or as detrimental as continually judging someone for past choices. My goal in life is to become more Christlike, and not allowing people to use the Atonement and become a new person in Christ hinders my progress in that goal. It has been even more powerful to think of this concept in reverse. Again, it could be as harmless as people remembering me when I was in 5th grade and was super fat (it's true, it was this stage thing I was in that was glorious). And I think to myself - "Wait! That's not me!" Or as hurtful as people remembering how callous and unloving I could be in my younger years (also a stage - but a much more detrimental one). It is particularly difficult for me when people still think of me in that light, because it is something I have put so much time and effort and prayer and thought into trying to fix.
My point in all of this is that perhaps we all need to be better about allowing others, and probably even ourselves, to become new. When someone has sincerely repented, turned from an old behavior, and tried to follow the example of their Savior in word or thought, we need to allow them and encourage them in that path. And that includes ourselves!
Christ said, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." In sticking with my ultimate life goal of becoming more Christlike, I know that I need to be better about seeing people as they are, and not for who they have been. I hope it's something we can all do a little better :) Love you too much!!!!!
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