Monday, February 15, 2010

I've been thinking.

As many who read my blog on a regular basis, know I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have never intended this blog to become a forum where I go on and on about my personal religious beliefs, and I don't plan on it becoming that in the future.  If ever I am  asked  a question about my religion, I will answer it. But, put very simply, I believe that a persons religious and spiritual experiences are be shared only when inspired to so.
Even with that thinking, there have been a few things that have been kicking around in my head lately. I can't seem to come to a firm resolution so I thought, perhaps, if I put these ponderings "out there", maybe, with your words of wisdom I would be able to make sense of them a little better.

In brief summary, our religion is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We believe He stands at the head of our church.
As members of our church, we strive to develop Christ-like attributes by the decisions we make.
 We look to Christs example and try to exemplify Him in our daily lives.  
It is this reason that has got me thinking.....

How are we able to have or develop Christ-like attributes?

Do they come automatically with our conversion?

Am I personally making decisions that reflect my belief system?

Are the choices I am making in line with our teachings?

I firmly believe that our thoughts and actions reflect our true feelings about Christ.

Just for fun,  I would like to pose some rhetorical questions.....

 You see a homeless man holding a sign on the side of the road.  It reads, "Hungry and broke". 
Do you,
a- Immediatly decide he is in this predicament by the choices he has made and ignore him.
b- assume that he will use any money you give him to buy drugs and/or alcohol.
c-give him the few dollars you have in your wallet and tell him to have a nice day.
There is a new family in your congregation that come smelling of cigarettes. They look unkempt and are noisey during the meeting.
Do you,
a- look scathingly at them hoping they get the hint to be quiet.
b- immediatly assume they must not be members due to their smell.
c- go to them and introduce yourself and welcome them to the meeting.

A person in your congregation recieves an opporunity to serve within the church. This opportunity comes with much responsiblity.
Do you,
a- immediatly think you could do a better job than they can.
b- tell others about your feelings concerning this persons personal unworthyness.
c-support and edify this person to the best of your ability.

There is a family in your congregation whose Daddy doesn't always come with them.
Do you,
a- assume the Daddy is inactive.
b- automatically think that the Daddy has no belief system or testimony.
c- accept that we all live in different and unique circumstances that we don't always understand.

A person comes back to church after a long stint of inactivity.
Do you,
a-think to yourself that they will certainly have a lot of repenting to do now.
b-act so surprised to see them and make a joking comment about how the roof of the church just might fall in because they came.
c-tell the person you are so happy to see them and that you have missed them.

You feel that you are receiving your fair share of trials and then some.
Do you,
a- constantly bemoan your existence.
b-think that your trials are far worse than anyone elses and that no else suffers like you do.
c- lose yourself in service so that your trials seem trivial compared to others.

Did your answers surprise you?
(another rhetorical question)
I do not want to appear that I am getting on a soap box here.
These are questions I have asked myself these last few months.

It is my hope that we ask ourselves "what would Jesus do?" before making a choice that could potentially hurt another.
Have I hurt another with my words and actions?
 I know I have. And I feel truly sorry for that.

Have others hurt me or another family member with their words and actions?

After all, people say things without thinking sometimes.
However, from these times,
 I have learned
 more about myself,
realized my capacity to forgive,
and  gained a knowledge of the healing power of the Atonement. 

Please. Feel free to share your personal thoughts on this subject.


Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

What a wonderful post Jo-Anne. It did make me think. I realized that some of my answers were based on personal experience, as an example, I had a relative that begged because of drug problems, so I tend to think that most times when I see someone with a sign. It's interesting to see where some are easy to do the right thing (as Jesus would do) and some not so easy. Thank you so much for making me think about striving to do His will more in all situations, and not my own.

Linda ★ Parker's Paradise said...

Jo~Anne, I was baptized and raised as a Catholic. I had no problems with that growing up. It was all we knew. As an adult, I experimented by attending other faith services, ending up going back to the Catholic Church. I became disenchanted with the way things were going there and stopped going to church with the exception of occasionally going with Sara and her family. They go to a Christian Church with lots of singing and fellowship. It is truly delighted as they make everyone feel welcome and respected. I have come to believe that an organized church isn't necessary for everybody. I still have my faith. I believe in the Bible and Christ's teachings. I know we are to emulate Christ in our daily life and decision making. I think it is an effort we must make. For some it comes naturally and for others not so much. The problem with people these days is that there is nothing more important than themselves; their only interest is what can be right for me, good for me. They know of no higher power. I pray for these people as well as my family and friends, the homeless and helpless. I pray for an awakening. There is a here-after, a heaven, a life everlasting with Christ our King and everyone has an opportunity to be there. WE BELIEVE.

Grammy Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

Great post - lots of food for thought!!

Julie said...

I loved you post Jo-Anne. I have tried really hard throughout my life to be non-judgemental. We just never know what another person has been through--ever. I loved reading this and taking the little quizzes. Great things to think about. Thanks. Julie

Dan said...

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sharla@mylittlegems said...

really makes you think :)
I have seen many of the things in your questions happen in our church. It is very unfortunate that some think they are "more blessed" or "better" than others in a way because of their callings or own deep conviction of personal value. I think far too often people forget that we are all the same in God's eyes. We are all "human" afterall...and all children of God no matter what are circumstances may be. I wish more people would remember that and be more sensitive to the fragile nature of others feelings. I think you know what I am saying :) good post- we all need to think about these things more. I think the real test of how close we are coming to Christ is how we treat others everyday, and how often our thoughts and actions turn to others in a Christlike way -instead of what we do "humanly" by thinking and reflecting and talking only about ourselves, how special and neat we are, and our super cool situation and place in life.☻ That is human nature. Real strength and character comes from the quiet and often unnoticed acts of service, love, and kindness- just as the Savior was and served-quietly, humbly, never boasting about how great He was- and He was the Son of God. If we truly want to follow Christ and become like Him, our actions would always speak louder than our words. ☻

Wendy K said...

Hi Jo-Anne,
Lovely's always good to pause and think about who we really are and reflect upon the nature of our hearts. The Primary lesson 'What would Jesus do?' still works in our home, I pray it always does! :)
Take care, love Wendy x

Gettysburg Homestead said...

Well, Jo-Anne I have to say that I was raised Baptist and taught that all other religions are wrong. I now do not believe that and have been to other churches in the meantime. I currently do not go to church after being on the receiving end of other people's words and actions. The preacher himself judged me as if he WERE GOD. He was not forgiving and treated me as an outcast. I still believe and still believe in the teachings. My daughter has chosen to attend church with my parents and my son does not. However, I do teach him Christian ways and share my beliefs with him. Of course being divorced many churches frown on you and will not let you serve in any capacity, so why go. Many of the people I have met are hypocrites and gossipers. At church on Sunday they are one way, but Monday morning they act otherwise.

This was a very good post my friend. I am hoping I have not offended you in anyway as I don't intend it that way.