I am upset by my church’s policy decision this week to exclude the children of same-sex couples from blessings or baptism until they are 18. I see it as a fear-motivated, unloving decision. I have read that their motivation was to keep families together and save them from conflict, but I’m still struggling with feelings of doubt that make me doubt my religion a little. I read your column because you teach love not fear, and I wondered if you would comment on this situation and help me find some peace around it.
Please don’t distress. There is another way of looking at this, which may bring some peace regardless of your personal beliefs.
First I want to remind you of three principles I believe are true. Read them and see if they feel like truth to you.
1) We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, good, loving children of God — and I mean all of us without exception (from the LDS leadership, to every LGBTQ person, to faithful LDS members and those that have decided to leave the church). We all have the exact same intrinsic worth, because we are all God’s children and part of him, no matter our beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else. We all deserve to be honored, respected and loved.
2) The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn (because life is a classroom) and we are here primarily to learn one lesson — love. God is love and we want to become like him someday so we must learn to love as he loves. This means every single thing that happens here in the classroom is going to be a lesson on learning love at a deeper level. Everything God has inspired or created is here to teach us love. (If you wonder why anything happened or happens in your life, it is to teach you to love yourself, others or God.)
3) God created this perfect universe and us exactly the way we are with many differences (including race, religion, culture, ideology, sexual orientation). He created differences for a reason, because these differences make us stretch and learn to love at a deeper level than we would have to go if we were all the same.
This world, with all the differences, is our perfect classroom.
When we use difference to cast any other child of God as bad, we are forgetting these important truths. All these people (the ones in your church, out of your church, leading the church, leaving the church, and those of other churches or no church at all) are God’s holy children, who he loves and has asked us to love. They are all here in the classroom to both learn love with us and to teach us by challenging us to stretch beyond the limits of our current love abilities.
Given these as facts, the question you must ask yourself whenever anything happens (like the church stating a new policy) is, “How could this experience be a perfect lesson for me to learn love at a deeper level?”
You must ask yourself this question when anything happens in your life, because everything that happens is, in fact, a lesson on love.
That is just how the classroom of life works.
(Think about what is bothering you at work, in your family or in your marriage, and ask yourself that question again.)
Imagine if everyone could see this situation as their perfect lesson to love God’s children at a deeper level. Some may need to stretch and learn to love LGBTQ people, which may be slightly out of their comfort zone. For others it may be about learning to love and forgive Mormon leaders as they are. For some it might be learning to love and embrace family members or friends, who have different beliefs.
Whatever your situation is — just focus on loving all involved.
The thing we can’t do is let fear, suspicion, judgment, hurt and pain overcome us and further divide us from each other. God created all of us (in his image) as part of his divinity, and nothing can destroy the truth God declares, change the infinite he created, or diminish the value of his children. You will be released from fear the moment you accept this.
Our job isn’t to judge anyone or anything, attack anyone or anything, or defend (because to even defend is to give power to the illusion that you are diminishable). Christ said to turn the other cheek and not defend when you feel attacked. I think this means to turn to your brother and show him he cannot hurt you, because you are undiminishable and so is he, therefore you hold nothing against him. This is real love and forgiveness.
Forgiveness happens for me when I see all human beings accurately (as divine, students with much more to learn, just like me). Seeing them accurately means there is nothing to forgive, because the universe was just providing me a lesson.
I believe all human behavior is either love or a request for love. So, if I’m not feeling loved by someone, it’s time to increase my love for them (that might be something I do from afar though). If you feel mistreated, taken from or unloved, remember it is just a lesson to help you become smarter, stronger, better and learn to love at a higher level.
I believe all the children of God are divine because they are part of him. This includes all the children and adults on both sides of this issue. Our only job is to ask ourselves, “Am I seeing all the children of God accurately and giving them honor, respect and love?” This is the only thing in your control in most situations.
Focus on seeing everyone as love, because love is who we are. One of my favorite books, the "Course in Miracles" (CIM) says, “All fear comes from a denial of authorship.” Think about that one. Basically we are afraid because we are forgetting who we are, who created us, and by whose hands this classroom journey was created.
When you are afraid or confused, be still and know that God is real and you are his beloved child and so is everyone else. “Love everything he created of which you are a part or you cannot learn of his peace and accept his gift for yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honored all those who were created like you.” (CIM)
We must learn to love all God’s children — to really know God.
If you will make your focus love (not defending, attacking, doubting, agonizing or fearing) and work to be the love (God’s love) that is in you, you will feel at peace.
Send thoughts of love and forgiveness towards those you disagree with on either side. Love them where they are. Love is the only fitting gift for anyone God created. Love them because they are part of him, just like you.
You can do this.
For those who are members of the LDS Church and struggling with this, I also highly recommend reading David Peterson’s blog — it will help. Here is the link.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.