Sunday, May 24, 2009


I'm preparing a lesson for church next week on the subject of courage. The focus of my talk will be a recent message from President Thomas S. Monson, entitled "May You Have Courage". He specifically addressed young women (ages 12-17), telling the story of Esther and exhorting the young women to have courage in three particular aspects of their lives:
  1. the courage to refrain from judging others,
  2. the courage to be chaste and virtuous, and
  3. the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness.
At a time when criticism is too often confused with critical thinking, the courage to refrain from condemning others is very necessary. President Monson says,
Unfortunately, there are those who feel it necessary to criticize and to belittle others. You have, no doubt, been with such people, as you will be in the future. My dear young friends, we are not left to wonder what our behavior should be in such situations. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior declared, “Judge not.” At a later time He admonished, “Cease to find fault one with another.” It will take real courage when you are surrounded by your peers and feeling the pressure to participate in such criticisms and judgments to refrain from joining in.
So much pain, alienation, and wasted potential in so many people's lives result from unkind speech. As a general rule, Thumper's mother was right: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

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