While recently checking my Facebook account, I noticed an invitation from an old friend to participate in an application called “OWNED!”
Own Your Friends! Give Human Gifts! Put yourself on the market and find out how much you’re worth!
A novel idea, I thought, so I signed-up for the application and quickly discovered my value, or lack thereof, on Facebook.
While we may assign worth and value to the souls of others, our Heavenly Father places a high value on the worth of our souls.
10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
I am familiar with the missionary application of this and the remaining scriptures in this section of the Doctrine and Covenants, but I want to focus on the broader application I believe applies to this scripture–the way we treat and value our fellow human being.
A friend of mine recently announced to his family, friends, ward members and community that he was choosing to live a life that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.
When I learned of my friend’s revelation, I admit that I was stunned and did not know how to react.
After the initial shock wore off, I pondered and prayed about what I should do and how I should approach my friend. The answer that came to me was to treat him exactly the same way the Savior would–with love!
Although I do not embrace or approve of my friend’s decision to live contrary to the teachings of the Church, I realized that if I did not have charity toward my friend, I could not remain a true friend.
19 And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.
I was saddened when my friend forwarded an email to me from someone he knew that was less than charitable.
The tone of the email was preachy; the sender was judgmental and argumentative, using the scriptures as a weapon against my friend.
He asked me, “How do I respond to this?”
I was at a loss after reading the unkind and hurtful email, but replied, “Sometimes it is best not to reply and pray for the person.”
My friend shared with me other encounters he has had with old friends and acquaintances, many of them with the same hurtful and unkind words. With most of these chance meetings, my friend remarked that people don’t know how to talk to him and often stumble through the conversation.
While I can understand the initial reluctance or awkwardness that might accompany an initial conversation with my friend after his revelation, I cannot understand or abide the treatment my friend receives from people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Savior declared plainly:
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
In the myriad of scriptures we read, I can only hope–for the sake of my friend and others in his situation–that we all take the teachings of the Savior to heart, understand the true worth of souls, and embrace the commandment to love one another.