Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sharing Is Caring

My primary class tomorrow is on the subject of sharing, and preparing it got me thinking: people that don't learn to share can never really be happy. The Lord taught: "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." When we hoard things to ourselves we lost them, and when we share them we truly gain them.

There are an enormous number of evils in the world because we don't share with each other: there is enough food for everyone in the world, but we have starving people. Information is freely available but many are kept in ignorance. There's so much of virtually every human necessity that we throw away the leftovers we can't use, but because so many choose to establish their personal worth in a comparative manner many needlessly suffer.

It is probably more practical to look at what happens to each of us personally if we don't share. I said that if we don't learn to share we cannot be happy; at the very least we cannot be as happy as people who share willingly. The philosophy of not sharing vs. sharing can explain my point.

Not sharing teaches me that I don't have enough. The more extreme I become in not sharing, the more I will ultimately believe that I need more, and that this need trumps all others. My things come before those around me. Sharing tells me that I can spare a little to help my brother or sister in need; I will figure out how to make do with less. It teaches me that my fellow earth-dwellers are more valuable than my possessions. Not sharing is ultimately the path of greed, over-indulgence, and the endless pursuit of more. Sharing is ultimately the path of love, self-denial, and taking care of others.

Knowing what we know: that this world is a temporary stop on an eternal journey, and that everything here must perish, which path is correct? Which leads to happiness? Should we be the one who is filled with love and will rejoice with friends in the next life, or will we hear the words: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"

Sharing, or giving more completely of ourselves, is something anyone can get better at. If we all reflect, we can probably see many ways that we fall short of the Master's example of perfect selflessness. I know that I have many. I can say that when I manage to share and to love not the illusion I am truly happy, and I receive the blessings of God far beyond what I deserve.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reflecting on Tolerance

I've been thinking more about the importance of tolerance lately. Every time someone compares someone they don't like to Hitler it reminds me how much we all need tolerance (except when that person has tried to systematically commit genocide, in which case I think there are legitimate comparisons).

I wish that every person on earth could agree with this thought: someone can disagree with me and still be reasonable, intelligent, peaceful, and virtuous; some people just don't think the way I do. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

I believe that in doing this we make the Lord pleased with us. In fact, I believe that we are commanded to do exactly that in the sermon on the mount:

43 ¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jesus taught us all to be better; with His sacrifice we are no longer held to a lesser law, but asked to rise above and follow Him. If we can't respect or even be civil to someone of an opposing viewpoint, how can we claim we are following Christ?

In a most precious passage of scripture we learn of Enoch, who saw "... that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept." Enoch asked in disbelief how it was possible, and the Lord replied:

... Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
If we cannot tolerate those around us we cannot love them. In one eidetic moment of my life I thought I felt with clarity the profound love of God for another human being. It is deep and powerful beyond what I can communicate, and I know that we can never have it without tolerance.