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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I know we are supposed to love our neighbors and our enemies as ourselves. But I have found myself struggling with a person who has just joined the Church and who plays one person against another where I work. This is bringing several comments about this person and the Mormons. This person seems to relish causing conflict among people and in getting people to feel sorry for her. I keep trying to love her as a sister and hate her actions but have found several times that she has raised my anger. What scriptures could I read to learn how to deal with this behavior and to prevent losing my temper and self-control?

Harry

 

Answer

 

Dear Harry,

Gaining self-control, including controlling one’s temper, is indeed a noble goal. In fact, it lies at the heart of the purpose of our existence in mortality. The Lord said,

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

 

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

 

And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever (Abraham 3:24-26).

One of the principle purposes of mortality, other than gaining a body, is to gain control over that body such that it becomes subject to the will of the spirit. The Lord influences us through the spirit or the intellect; Satan influences us through the body or the emotions.

So the vital question is, as you asked, how do we gain self-control? All skills are gained by practice. So, I guess one answer to your question is practice, practice, practice! If you were in an environment of all sweetness and light where nothing contrary or disturbing ever happened, you would have no opportunity for growth. So, being placed in the company of one who tends to unsettle your equilibrium is actually a blessing; it provides the opportunity to practice self-control. In all these matters the Savior is the Great Exemplar. We are instructed,

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect (3 Nephi 12:48).

Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up–that which ye have seen me do (3 Nephi 18:24).

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

If He forgave those who put him to death, can we not forgive those of whose actions we do not approve? Without condoning inappropriate behavior, can we show love and concern for such a person when the Savior has commanded us to Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44)?

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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