I am sorry to report that I have been burned at countless times by gossip in the various wards I have belonged to. I won’t go into them, but it has made me very fearful of the members, let alone going to church to face these people who would rather believe pure bunk than ignoring idle gossip and the harm it causes. I realize fully that the church is perfect, even though its members are not, and that fear is the best tool Satan has. Having said that, do you have any suggestions in my quest of not allowing 15 years of being “burned to a crisp” to stop me from regarding the actual attending church with such fear touched with loathing? It’s not the church, it’s the people. Thank you so much.
Just a couple of comments. One-the only way to keep people from saying unkind things about you is to not do anything. Even that won’t work, because you will be criticized for not doing anything.
Secondly, since practically everyone says unkind things about others (examine your own self, for instance), although you may think that you have been singled out, you are not alone. If you can focus on the Lord, and let your primary concern be what He thinks about you, what others think will diminish in importance. If indeed you are above criticism, then you should have a clear conscience. With the confidence that a clear conscience brings, it should be easy for you to look with sympathy and a forgiving attitude on those who wrongfully say unkind things about you.
If you treat such people with kindness, rather than showing offense by the things that they say, they will sooner or later change their opinions of you. If you treat them in such a way as to merit their respect, admiration and praise, the unkind sentiments will diminish and you may find some cherished friends among those who you now feel look upon you unkindly.
Elder Harold B. Lee made a comment in a Branch Conference in a small town in Texas that I attended in November of 1942 that impressed me so that I have never forgotten it. Perhaps it could be meaningful also to you as well. He simply said, “Be kind, forgiving and overlook the faults of others.”