Just recently I had a member email me telling me I should end my life because of how I looked. He said I’m a bad person and God could never love someone that looked like me.
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And this wasn’t the first or last email I received from someone telling me I should take my life because of who I am or what I’m trying to do. (Now to be fair, even though I was treated pretty badly when first moving to Utah after my baptism, most of this now comes with the territory of simply having an online presence & most of my mean comments usually aren’t in person anymore. But that doesn’t dismiss that intentional or unintentional rude remarks happen to everyone at some point).
Now before you start commenting about how people need to stop judging, let me be clear: This post has nothing to do about others judging, or about rude comments towards any one for any reason.
This post is not about me. It is not about how I look or about my conversion, or the meanest comments I’ve received from active members of Church. Because let’s be real—we do not need any more of those posts.
All of us can comment about how judging is wrong until we’re blue in the face! But the reality is, it won’t change things or people. It’s still happening and it will continue to always happen just as it always has in the past. As much as I wish I can swing a wand so everyone can see others how God sees us and understand the Atonement a little better, I can’t.
But recently as I have scrolled through hateful comments towards too many people online because of politics or religion or whatever— and as I read my emails from too many people saying how they stopped going to church because of rude remarks from their church family— and as I skim through emails from active members, saying I’m a bad person and the world would be better off without me, all while knowing that things won’t necessarily change, I am reminded of the greatest piece advice I can offer you:
You just worry about you and worry about God.
Here’s how to respond: We absolutely do not let it ever stop us from doing the eternal truths that affect our forever. We can’t change others but we can change ourselves. We can change how we react to others and how we let it affect us and how we live here and hereafter.
So, when yet another time someone says something mean to you, intentionally or not, here’s what we need to do:
We keep trying. We keep going. We keep going to church. We keep reading the scriptures. We keep praying. We keep going to the temple. We keep turning to God. We keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep doing you. And keep loving, serving, trusting, and turning to God.
Because nothing is worth giving up our forever happiness.
Because, oh my goodness, you guys, it is never worth letting it get to you! Holding on to those things is dangerously only hurting ourselves and our soul! Whatever it is that someone else hasn’t learned yet cannot take away from the truthfulness of this church. Because no untrue or ignorant jab from someone else cannot take away the fact that THIS IS ALL REAL. The gospel really is true. God really is real. You really are His child. Christ really did die for you. The Atonement really did happen and covers everything. And your forever depends on how we live right now.
So yeah, maybe people are mean to me still, but you know what is different now than from years ago?
I’m different. Not them. And when I hear or read those things, I don’t respond, I shrug it off and move on. And so should you. Those comments from others should have no effect on us because in reality, they absolutely and do not matter. Because of the reality of Christ and who He sees us becoming and what He is capable of helping us move past.
Because it’s living the gospel that matters. It’s making sure we aren’t letting anything effect our forever that matters. It’s about feeding and taking care of the eternal soul living within us that matters. It’s about what we’re doing to try to serve Him and become better is what matters. How God sees us is what matters. And He sees us as someone capable of becoming like Him.
Let’s do everything we can to continue to grow and strengthen our testimony so that nothing will shake it. Let’s always keep our focus on Him so that nothing will take us away from living the beautiful principals of the gospel. Let’s just worry about you and worry about God so that we will never deprive ourselves from living the way He wants us to—the only way to experience real and lasting happiness.
You belong here. You belong a part of this. This is for you.
You do matter and God does care.
We find what we look for.
Look for the good.
Release will be early September.