Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Am A Child of God

"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:29)

"I am a child of God / and He has sent me here" ("I Am A Child of God", Children's Songbook p.2)

"I understood who I was: a daughter of God"
Guess what? You are the son or daughter of Divinity! God is your Father and Heaven, the Father of your spirit. And because we are all sons and daughters of God, we are also all brothers and sisters.

Everyone loves their brothers and sisters (even if the drive you crazy sometimes). The same should be true of everyone you meet, because they are your brothers and sisters as well. It is important that we recognize that. When we do, we begin to see people the way He sees them, and He is no respecter of persons--in other words, He doesn't love one person more than another. All are equal before Him, equal and unique.

Because we are all equal in God's eyes, we also ought to be equal in each other's eyes--that is, don't esteem anyone higher or lower than yourself. Don't judge them for appearance or behavior. Everyone has trials they are going through, and we never know the full story. How would you feel, if you were going through a really tough time and it affected your attitude? Or you were badly injured and it left a permanent, visible scar? How would you feel if because of this outward appearance, people were prejudiced against you, or assumed you were just unfriendly and aloof, and so nobody wanted to be your friend? Or nobody supported you during this trial?

I am sure that you would feel pretty awful. Lonely, unlikable, inferior even. Well, guess what? When you judge others based on outward appearance or behavior, you are causing them to feel those things. And instead of helping them through this hard time, you ignored them, or even gossiped about them. Stop and think for a minute--would you do that to your brother or sister? If this person were part of your family, would you judge them and treat them this way? I imagine most of you would answer, "Of course not! They're my brother/sister, and I love them!" But you know what? That stranger you just cataloged as a druggie and unlovable is also your brother or sister.

This last week I had an experience that made me realize just how important it is for us to recognize others as our spiritual brothers and sisters, and loving them as such. And just how much that simple thing--trying to see others as their Heavenly Father sees them--can change the way you view everything else.

On Wednesday, my companion and I had a really good lesson with an investigator.. But what made it so amazing for me was, halfway through, his mom, who was sitting in on our lesson, decided to sing us a song. This may not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you about her. She's had a stroke, and so she can't hear at all, and she can't talk very well (as a result, she can't sing either). The stroke also left the left side of her face kind of sunken and saggy, and her eye is red and dull--though the other side of her face is completely normal. Manuel told us that the neighborhood kids who saw her were afraid and called her a witch and other mean things. She may not have heard it, but that didn't make it right.

When she decided to sing, at first I was a little skeptical and was sure it would sound like screeching. Honestly, it kind of did, and I couldn't understand anything she said. But she was so enthusiastic about it that I couldn't help smiling. I also found myself watching the other side of her face, where it looks normal. Her eye was sparkling and bright and she was smiling. And I suddenly realized that it didn't matter what her physical condition was right now. She was still a beloved daughter of God, one of His choice daughters. And in the resurrection, she would be restored to the beauty I saw on the right side of her face.

Suddenly I felt a surge of love for her that I knew came from God. I recognized her as my sister in spirit. And since then, I can only see her bright, sparkling eye and her big smile every time she sees my companion and I. In short, now I only see her as a beautiful and loved daughter of Heavenly Father. I

As a result of this experience, I try to see everyone else the same way. It takes a little effort sometimes, mostly because I didn't have a so-called miraculous glimpse through God's eyes at them the same as I did this older woman. But I know that as I pray for help and make an effort to do it, I will begin to have the same love for everyone else as I do for this woman.

Tender Mercy: I think the above experience counts :) But I also got Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Godiva chocolate from the members we ate dinner with on Tuesday, for no reason other than they love us. This just happens to be my ultimate favorite combination of flavors :D

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