By Kathy Carlston
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of pain among my friends. Many who have spoken with me feel belittled, betrayed, lost and alone.
One of the scriptures that has been in my mind is 1 Corinthians 4 – 7. I’m particularly drawn to the way that it reads in the New Inspired Version of the bible:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
While growing up in the LDS church, one of the concepts that I was taught dozens of times was to read scriptures as if they were written specifically just for me. Many teachers suggested that we literally take our name and weave it into our readings as we feel is appropriate.
4 Kathy, be patient, Kathy, be kind. Do not envy, do not boast, do not be proud.
5 Do not dishonor others, seek for the welfare of others, do not be easily angered, keep no record of wrongs.
6 Love, do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth.
7 Always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.
With His plea to ‘love one another,’ I believe that the Savior gives us permission to be each other’s champions and guardians. He’s giving us permission to be friends. A good friend is someone who is patient, who is kind, who always protects and always trusts. My friends have often been the buoys in my ocean as I’ve navigated through stormy times. They’ve been a ray of warm sunshine when I felt surrounded by pain and darkness. In D&C 84, Christ begins referring to Joseph and the apostles as His friends. In my opinion, to be called His friend is the highest complement one can receive.
With Christ’s charge to love our enemies, I believe that He is showing us something special. I can envision Him wrapping His arm around the shoulder of the one who I’ve deemed my ‘enemy’ and saying “Kath, this is my Friend. Please, love them.” He’s giving us the opportunity to lay down our weapons, and see that this person before us can, too, be our friend. Whoever they are, we can look them in the eye, see that they’re someone who has felt just as scared or hurt as we have, and show them love, bind their wounds, mourn with them in their loss, comfort them in their pain, and rejoice with them in their success.
I know that there has been a lot of pain, betrayal and hurt, particularly in the past few weeks. I submit that whoever we have deemed as our enemy is hurting, too. It’s easy to forget that fact. I love the word atonement. The ability we have to remember to love, roll up our sleeves and bridge the divide between us and become at-one once again is divine.
I am your sister. I am your friend. Let’s do what we can to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and walk forward together.