It’s Tuesday again, that means another exciting installment of TOPICAL GUIDE TUESDAY (say it like those monster truck announcers). This week, and maybe this is going to be a continuing thing – but I’ve been thinking about my own issues, and I suffer from this affliction, so let’s talk about it and see if we can come up with something.
Did anyone remember to try and thank the Lord for our blessings from last weeks challenge? I did, and even though I didn’t make it all week, I consciously thanked him a number of times and noticed slight changes in myself. I still need to continue with that, but let’s move on and look at another topic.
I went looking for Contention’s definition but came across a number of them that really didn’t make contention out to be so bad. It was merely arguing or debating. So I went looking for it among the teachings and writings of our modern day prophets.
Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride.[1. Ezra Taft Benson - Beware of Pride - Ensign May 1989 p4]
It’s funny, last night my wife and I were discussing Pride, and I had made the comment that Pride is like a root to a number of problems, and look here – I was right. But it’s no laughing matter. In this day and age, there’s a lot of contention. In my life it’s progressively grown into a problem. Concerning politics and religion I’ve gotten to where I will usually avoid the conversation entirely and talk about something else because I can get so passionate.
Elder Russell M. Nelson says this, and remember this is back in 1989,
My concern is that contention is becoming accepted as a way of life. From what we see and hear in the media, the classroom, and the workplace, all are now infected to some degree with contention. How easy it is, yet how wrong it is, to allow habits of contention to pervade matters of spiritual significance, because contention is forbidden by divine decree:
“The Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another.” (2 Ne. 26:32.)[2. Russell M. Nelson, "The Canker of Contention," Ensign, May 1989, 68]
While this may have been written 20 years ago, I think it’s just as pertinent today, probably more so. I see it being completely true – with today’s political and religious climates.
Where is this getting us? How does one deal with what you know to be wrong, when others think something else? How do you not contend, yet still hold your moral high ground?
Luckily, in the same talk he gives an answer.
Yet, mercifully, the anointed pray for those who attack them, knowing the sad fate prophesied for their attackers. (See D&C 121:16–22.)[3. Russell M. Nelson, "The Canker of Contention," Ensign, May 1989, 68]
Alright, maybe not a specific answer, but you can read into that more. My problem is, and I know I do this often is to add that one little quip at the end, I’ll let them go with a “I understand your position” then give it that snide, contentious little “but your wrong” ending that just begs them to continue the debate.
So now comes the question, what can I (we) do about this?
The first suggestion from Elder Nelson, is to “control your tongue, pen, and word processor“, though I think you can replace or add blog, forum, twitter, etc.
Next, “Bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory“.
Then “respectfully disagree without being disagreeable“. While I need to work on all aspects of how to over come, I think here’s where I need to work the most.
And the last piece, which ties right back to pride – “Personal peace is reached when one, in humble submissiveness, truly loves God“.
So, the challenge this week, for me at least is to try and be a gracious person when it comes to disagreements, debates, or arguments when I don’t subscribe to what others think. I need to add this to my work on thanking the Lord for all my blessings and drop the pride, in all forms.
I hope you will try to make your life better by following the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the words of our Prophets and leaders.
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