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A Talk Given in Sacrament Meeting
of the Sterling Park Ward, Ashburn, VA Stake
By D. Calvin Andrus, Bishop
13 January 2008, Version 1.0
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Story of Sister
A few years ago, a sister--who is no longer in our ward--came into my office. Let's call her Sister Apple. She stated that just didn't like another sister in the ward--whom we will call Sister Orange. Not only did Sister Apple not like Sister Orange, but Sister Apple said that she couldn't even get along with Sister Orange. Sister Apple said she avoided Sister Orange because every time Sister Apple came in contact with Sister Orange, Sister Apple just got a bad feeling. Sister Apple hinted that I should be sure not to issue callings that would have the two of them working together. Sister Apple concluded by asking my advise about what she should do abpit Sister Orange.
I remarked that this was a curious situation, but before I offered any advice, I would like to ask Sister Apple some questions. First, did she think that I, the Bishop, liked her. Sister Apple said, "Why, of course." I then asked if she thought that I liked Sister Orange. Sister Apple said, "I am pretty sure you do." I responded that I did. I then asked Sister Apple how it was that I could like Sister Orange, but she could not--that is what was the difference. Sister Apple admitted, the difference was not Sister Orange, but that the difference was Sister Apple.
I then asked Sister Apple if she liked everyone in the ward besides Sister Orange. She responded that there were a half dozen or so people she really didn't like. I asked her if those people thought the Bishop liked them. Sister Apple supposed the did think the Bishop liked them. I asked Sister Apple what would happen if she were called to be Bishop. Would she have to pretend to like people? Or, would she actually have to like them? She supposed she would actually have to like them. But she knew she couldn't do it.
I then asked her, how does a Bishop do it? How does he like everyone in the ward? She didn't know. I suggested that liking a person or not liking a person is a choice we make. I told her that for more then 20 years I had made it a goal to like and get along with every person I met. I would get to know the person well enough to know what their admirable characteristics were and then focus my attention on those.
I went on to ask Sister Apple if Heavenly Father liked all of his children. She said yes. I asked if she thought Jesus Christ liked everyone. She said yes. "What about the Holy Ghost?" I asked. Yes, she said. So, we have three Celestial Beings and they all share the attribute that they like every single person that has been, is now, and will be on the earth. I suggested that all Celestial Beings have this attribute. That they like everyone.
I asked Sister Apple if that particular notion scared her. She asked why? I suggested that if all Celestial Beings like everyone, and if she wanted to go to the Celestial Kingdom, then she, too, would have to like everyone, including Sister Orange. The scariness started to hit her. She asked, "You mean if I want to get into the Celestial Kingdom, I will have to like and get along with Sister Orange?" "Yes!" I said, "and everyone else." She said she had never heard that before.
Sermon on the Mount
I found it curious that Sister Apple had never heard that one must like every other person to get into the Celestial Kingdom. This doctrine can be found in the Sermon on the Mount. The Savior asks a couple of rhetorical questions.
Luke 6:32-34 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? . . . And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? . . . And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and blend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
To this I bear my witness. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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