Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kindness Matters- Eliminating Contention

Heceta Lighthouse Head, Oregon Coast

There is nothing I dislike more than contention and anger. It hurts, it cuts, and it destroys peace, love and the spirit. 

Most of the suffering I have gone through in my life can be traced back to contention, anger, and of coarse pride .  I was blessed to grow up in very peaceful home with  laughter rather than contention. My mother didn't put up with much contention, and I try not to either.  In my home I have strived relentlessly to teach my children to get along, love each other, and speak kindly to one another.

I have a sign that sits on my entry room table that reads "Kindness Matters".   I couldn't agree more. Kindness is the one thing that always matters.

Contention is wrong and is of the devil (see source)

Strife, arguing, and disputations. Contention, especially ...between family members, is not pleasing to the Lord.
  • Let there be no strife between me and thee:Gen. 13:8;
  • Pride causes contention:Prov. 13:10;
  • If any man have a quarrel against any, forgive as Christ forgave:Col. 3:13;
  • Avoid foolish questions and contention:Titus 3:9;
  • The Lord commands men not to contend with one another:2 Ne. 26:32;
  • Ye will not suffer your children to fight and quarrel with one another:Mosiah 4:14;
  • Alma commanded that there be no contention among Church members:Mosiah 18:21;
  • Satan spreads rumors and contention:Hel. 16:22;
  • The devil is the father of contention and stirs up men to contend with one another:3 Ne. 11:29; ( Mosiah 23:15; )
  • Establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention:D&C 10:62–64;
  • Cease to contend with one another:Doctrine and Covenants136:23;
Elder Robert B. Hales said in his conference address on Sunday how parents are to be loving teachers in our homes.  
"The most important work we do in our homes is through the power of the Holy Ghost. Whenever we raise our voices in anger, the spirit leaves our companionships, and our families."
Teaching moments to teach gospel truth and morals to our children- arise and we should take advantage of those moments.  I have had many such moments with my family, and they are the richest most joyful times of parenthood.

There are teaching moments however that should never happen. Moments when the parent figure loses their temper, and instead of teaching in love, they use guilt trips, needless scolding, putting someone in their place, belittling, and hateful comments said only to cut and hurt, and control. These, my friends, are not teaching moments. They are contentious and not of the holy spirit, and do not build a family. They tear a family and build wedges in relationships.

In strengthening us in our most  important role as parents and helping us overcome the contention that can arise in any family or relationship, several conference talks come to my mind:
The Merciful Obtain Mercy ( President Uchtodorf's famous "Stop It" talk)
What Lack I Yet? (Elder Larry R. Lawrence)
Beware of Pride (President Ezra Taft Benson)

To name a few.

In 2009 President Thomas S. Monson gave a great talk titled
"If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry."
“Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.”
"We’ve all felt anger * It can come when things don’t turn out the way we want *It might be a reaction to something which is said of us or to us * We may experience it when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave * Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected * We might feel angry when others can’t see things from our perspective "

"The Apostle Paul asks in Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 26 of the Joseph Smith Translation: “Can ye be angry, and not sin? let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” I ask, is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry? I know of no instance where such would be the case."

School thy feelings, O my brother;
Train thy warm, impulsive soul.
Do not its emotions smother,
But let wisdom’s voice control.
School thy feelings; there is power
In the cool, collected mind.
Passion shatters reason’s tower,
Makes the clearest vision blind "
                                                                                        -Charles Penrose 

From 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, we read:
“There shall be no disputations among you. …

“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
“Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”
To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible.
Anger, Satan’s tool, is destructive in so many ways.
Contention hurts.  I hope none of us are people who stir up contention, hold grudges, or choose to be offended easily. Life is hard.   We may not get our way. We may have to roll with a new plan, we may have to bite our tongue and choose peace when we want to yell. However, we must be kind and we  must choose the Savior's way of peace and wisdom.
Regrets are hard to retrieve, and even harder to erase.  Let's be loving, forgiving, and kind.
In the words of Elder Hales from his latest talk at General Conference:

"You lift me and I'll lift you and we'll ascend together"