Sometimes a talk or verse of scripture can take on very different meaning at times based on our circumstances.
During conference I really enjoyed Elder Duncan’s talk on forgiveness. I especially liked his story about applying ointment to his skin until it softened to allow a splinter out. And I loved his reminder that “none of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done.”
Yesterday, as I was sorrowing over the election results from Indiana and Trump’s victory in the primaries, I decided to listen to a general conference talk to get my mind off politics. Elder Duncan’s talk was the next one chronologically and so I listened to it. I didn’t expect it to be so topical.
Elder Duncan made two points that I really needed to hear. First, “[l]et us all remember that God looketh not upon the color of the jersey or the political party.” In the midst of a vicious political season it is easy to begin to think less of the character and integrity of supporters of a candidate. It is easy to forget our common humanity. It is easy to forget that mankind is good at heart and that most people are voting according to their conscience and for the candidate they hope and pray will make the nation better. This was a reminder for me to avoid hardening my heart or thinking less of those who disagree with me:
“Instead, as Ammon declared, ‘[God] looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart’ (Alma 18:32).”
Second, “Brothers and sisters, in the competitions of life, if we win, let us win with grace. If we lose, let us lose with grace. For if we live with grace toward one another, grace shall be our reward at the last day.”
Again, I really needed to hear this reminder. Showing grace in defeat is one of the hardest things to do. Showing grace does not mean giving up our values. It does not mean ever supporting wickedness or vice. But it does mean recognizing that God is in charge and showing forth an increase of compassion and concern.
For me, showing grace in defeat does not mean that I will ever support Donald Trump. I cannot. I will not. But what I can do is avoid going into the gutter and focusing on the personal and petty. I can avoid mudslinging and recrimations. I can speak out about values rather than personality. And I can pray that God’s tender mercies will be upon this nation.
My heart is broken and filled with sorrow. It’s hard to accept this loss with grace. But if we can show grace when it is most difficult to do so, our reward shall be divine grace from the fount of every blessing. He will heal us individually and collectively if we seek his grace.