Friday, March 15, 2013

Being a More Christian Christian

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Being a More Christian Christian, by Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Our neighbors are grandparents who tend their grandchildren everyday. This sounds like a wonderful thing considering that we live in a cul-de-sac and have similarly-aged children, and it used to be, but something changed over a year ago.

Here's my brood playing in the cul-de-sac last July

What started out as small hints became more and more obvious when our neighbors would go inside whenever our children went out to play in the front yard. Recently, one of the grandchildren told our children, "we're not supposed to play with you."

Naturally, our children wondered why.

While we don't know for sure, we've discussed it as a family and talked about boundaries and making sure we're kind when we're playing with others, etc., in case we did something unknowingly to offend them; however, I believe the ostracism stems from something else.

If memory serves me, we were all friendly until my son's baptism was approaching and he wanted to invite our neighbors to attend. We prepared invitations and delivered them to our neighbors. Whereas most were happy and congratulatory, this is the time that this particular neighbor family stopped talking/playing with us.

Again, I don't know for sure, but I suspect they don't like us because they now know for sure that we're Mormon.

Perhaps they don't think that we're Christian. All I know is when my children excitedly go out to play and see their friends quickly ushered inside by their grandmother, smiles fade and I'm tempted to do things that aren't Christian at all!

Recently I've been building up the nerve to confront our neighbors and see if they'll finally help me understand why the rift between us exists, but they've either not been home when I've wanted to visit, or I get so worked up about the perceived injustice that I don't feel like being nice anymore so I don't go.

I came to Elder Hales' talk this afternoon and thought of my neighbor-conflict when I read the title, "Being a More Christian Christian," because it's so obviously what I need to do in this case. In his talk, Elder Hales reminded of the need we have, as Christians, to "feed [his] sheep," including, as he put it, "those who think and believe differently than we do."

If the cul-de-sac conflict is a result of difference of religion, I especially need to remember to be Christian and Christ-like if I ever discuss it with them. Elder Hales taught:

I testify that through His infinite love and grace, we can become more Christian Christians.

Reviewing this talk has helped me see that I need to have Christian patience and Christian forgiveness. I just need to decide when to stop turning the other cheek and have a loving Christian conversation to resolve the cul-de-sac conflict.

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