Do you ever feel like the world you live in is full of contention and anger? Have you ever wondered what the remedy is? Here are ten great truths from Latter-day leaders about why contention is so common and what we can do about it.
To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible.
On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment.
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.
Contention is often the result of selfishness. The person with a contentious spirit is usually thinking primarily of himself. And when we give in to such a spirit we separate ourselves further from the Spirit of God.
When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us.
What can we do to combat this canker of contention? What steps may each of us take to supplant the spirit of contention with a spirit of personal peace?
To begin, show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the word processor.
Through love of God, the pain caused by the fiery canker of contention will be extinguished from the soul. This healing begins with a personal vow: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
True love is based on personal unselfishness, but our modern world does not seem to understand this. Modern man has lost his capacity to love. Jesus warned us that one of the principal characteristics of the last days would be that love among the people would gradually die.
Brothers and sisters, if we are obedient to the commandment of love, there will be no disputations, contention, nor hatred between nor among us. We will not speak ill of one another but will treat each other with kindness and respect, realizing that each of us is a child of God. There will be no Nephites, Lamanites, nor other “ites” among us, and every man, woman, and child will deal justly one with another.
Never will peace and hatred be able to abide in the same soul. Permanent peace will elude those individuals or groups whose objective is to condemn, discredit, rail at, or tear down those whose beliefs are different from their own. These people live by hatred and would destroy others insofar as it is in their power to do so. True Christians have no time for contention. Lasting peace cannot be built while we are reviling or hating others. Those who preach hate, ridicule, and untruths cannot be classified as peacemakers. Until they repent they will reap the harvest to which those engaged in the business of hatred are entitled. Feelings of enmity and malice can never be compatible with feelings of peace.