Monday, June 13, 2016

Richard L. Evans on finding ways to build and encourage one another

Elder Richard L. Evans (1906-1971) served as a Seventy from 1938-1953, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He died in 1971 at age 65.  He was known as "the voice of the Tabernacle Choir" from the beginning of its broadcasts in 1929 until his passing.
"There are physical hurts in life—accidents, illness, financial misfortunes that men often manage to survive. But there are hurts of the heart that pull people down in deep discouragement, sometimes more damaging than physical factors—people who are misunderstood, maligned; whose motives are misjudged. There are those whose friends fail them; those whose loved ones prove faithless. There are those whose words and manner are misunderstood by those they live and work with, and there are those whose humor is misunderstood—a humor that was not meant to hurt. Sometimes we speak without thinking and find the effect to be altogether not what we would have wanted. And sometimes even with family and friends there are clashes of personality, or pride, or simply differences of approach that prevent even loved ones from understanding each other.
"Oh, how we wish sometimes we hadn't said some things, and hadn't done some things—that we hadn't given thoughtless hurt to someone, or even some slight. As Sir Walter Scott said it: 'Thoughts, from the tongue that slowly part, Glance quick as lightning through the heart.'
"So many misunderstood—so many with problems, sorrows, disappointments, frustrations, hurts of the heart! We are not, any of us, always as we ought to be, or all we could become. We often live by trial and error, and there is no perfection in any one of us. And no matter what physical comforts we have, or what success in other ways, these will not make life happy when there are hurts of the heart.
"One of the greatest accomplishments in this world would be that of lifting human hearts. Blessed are they who are kind and considerate of the feelings of other people. Blessed are they who understand and appreciate and encourage others, and help to lift their lives and to heal hurts of the heart. Surely God will reward kindness more surely than he will reward much else without it."
- Richard L. Evans, "The Spoken Word," November 29, 1970; see Ensign, February 1971, p. 22
Click here to read the full article

It's a poignant thing to be "misunderstood, maligned; [one] whose motives are misjudged." Those "hurts of the heart" are so much more painful and long-lasting than most physical injuries. Having been the victim of such an attack at one point, I know how wounds of accusation and judgement can linger.

The injuries that are inflicted knowingly might be the hardest to recover from; but those that are done unknowingly, without malicious intent, also cause deep wounds. "We are not, any of us, always as we ought to be"; and at times we stumble in our relationships. When we do, how quick we should be to apologize, to forgive, to make amends, to move on.

This is a plea for greater sensitivity; greater caution and awareness in how we interact with one another. In order to avoid causing unnecessary pain, we need more often to think how our words might be taken in ways we don't intend; and how we might be misperceiving facts or circumstances.

I love these closing words of encouragement towards greater kindness and sensitivity:

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