Honestly I have been dealing with an extremely difficult family member, a bully in a more subtle way, and have been at a loss as to how to deal with them. I think what Brother Sims told you would work for me.
Of course, those aren’t excuses. And I don’t think that President Hinckley, in the story he told at the last General Conference, excused the kid who took an action that seriously disfigured the victim.
But there are at least two points that need to be made:It isn’t up to us to judge others, even bullies. That boy’s life was not an excuse for what he did, but an explanation, or at least part of one. There might be people that “need” to have their lights punched out, but this boy wasn’t one of them. Because Rusty treated this boy the way Jesus would have treated him, he was able to some degree see himself as child of God, even if he might not have articulated that way.Praying for our enemies is always the right thing to do. We’ve been commanded to do it, so we should.I, for one, benefited from reading Rusty’s story, and I don’t understand this flak he has received for it. It seems like we want to follow the gospel only where it’s convenient.]]>
I couldn’t help but think of these verses, which have always amused me because of the benevolence/malice balance they strike. At the same time, I like Rusty’s post because it shows that a person’s heart can be changed and that a person can truly learn to love his/her enemy.]]>
When we’re absorbed in making other people pay for their sins we are not loving them as we ought.
You’re right, of course. I already admitted that I am a sinner, so what’s the point? That I’m not loving people as I ought? I know that already! So make me run through another several probations…]]>
Nothing in Rusty’s story suggests that the bully was justified in his behavior. And I don’t think anyone thinks “that “having a hard time” is an excuse for bully behavior”.
“He had no right to treat you that way and humiliate you in front of everyone.” Maybe so, but what of it? Does this mean that Rusty’s response was wrong? When we’re absorbed in making other people pay for their sins we are not loving them as we ought.]]>
My reaction was definitely not to pray for him. My reaction was fear, hate, thoughts of self-defense classes, vengeance, calling police, telling the principal, etc. I went to my seminary teacher because he was there and I needed to talk with someone. After having time to discuss it, to reason through it, and (what I feel/felt) being led by the Spirit, Brother Sims helped me come to the conclusion that I did. As a sophomore I didn’t have “sensible intuition”, trust me. Ask Don, he’ll tell you.
I’m not saying the Spirit guided me through the whole thing but there were nudges here and there. And that’s been the pattern for how the Spirit works in my life. For others it’s different, but for me that’s exactly how it works.
And I have to admit that this is my only General Conference-worthy experience in my life. If they ever ask me to give two talks I don’t know what I’ll say in the second one]]>
It’s just hard to hear about your perfect life and all the blessings you get from “following the spirit.”
But I guess I can sincerely say that I am happy you have such experiences to draw upon.]]>
I just have trouble understanding why people think that “having a hard time” is an excuse for bully behavior. There should be no excuses. I don’t care if his mother had died playing russian roullette. He had no right to treat you that way and humiliate you in front of everyone.
I put “follow the spirit” in quotes because: how do you know it was the “spirit” who told you to react that way and not your own sensible intuition? I have been bugged lately, at church and elsewhere, of how people attribute so many things to the “spirit.”
And I’m feeling generally snide today. Hopefully I won’t be tomorrow.]]>
Or are you just a karate master and are offended at my words about self-defense?]]>