“And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.” Mosiah 18:21
I’ve been thinking about and pondering this scripture for a couple of days.
General Conference is approaching. I could imagine that if Alma were to speak to us today he may be saying the exact same words. Avoid contention!
I read today that someone did some study that asking contending parties about their feelings concerning their opposition. No surprise, both parties felt that they were in the right, more compassionate, more fiscally responsible, and more civilly responsible. Both parties felt that the opposition was driven by hatred and ill will. All this contention in our communities and the world is getting out of control.
There are certain sections of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” that I don’t agree with fundamentally, yet other sections I want to sing loudly from the roof tops! I do believe in a heaven and a hell. But I also believe that God wants people to extend mercy to others. I believe that He wants wants us all to be kind and to be generous. “Imagine all the people living for today.” Imagine we all lived as present people, in the moment, aware of the needs of others. I don’t believe that God or religion are reasons to kill , hurt or ridicule others. That is not who my God is and it is not what He does!
The Adversary, on the other hand, does want to distract us from our faith. He is miserable and wants as many people as possible to be miserable right alongside him. If he can get people to stop loving each other, to think inward, to focus on our own pride, and then to contend with each other, it is easier for him to divide us and unity is lost. If Satan can succeed in creating within us a habit of arguing, fighting, and contention, it is easier for him to bind us with heavier sins that can destroy us eternally! The root of the issue is pride.
Only by pride cometh contention.” (Proverbs 13:10)
How do you go about avoiding contention?
Elder Marvin J Ashton taught in 1978 these 5 suggestions:
- Pray to have the love of God in your heart. Sometimes this is a struggle, but the Spirit of the Lord can soften hard feelings and mellow a callous spirit.
- Learn to control your tongue. There is an old maxim and an excellent one: “Think twice before you speak and three times before you act.”
- Don’t allow emotions to take over; rather, reason together.
- Refuse to get embroiled in the same old patterns of argument and confrontation.
- Practice speaking in a soft, calm voice. The peaceful life can best be attained not by those who speak with a voice of “great tumultuous noise” but by those who follow the Savior’s example and speak with “a still voice of perfect mildness.” ( 5:30.)
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one