Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Friend to Hate

There is a meme that gains in popularity daily. It teaches that judgment, pain, and discomfort are bad. Tolerance, permissiveness, and acceptance are good. If we love someone, it says, we should never judge them. We should never hurt them. We should never make them uncomfortable or make them question what makes them happy. Tolerating their differences is required, celebrating them is ideal. Allowing people to do whatever makes them happy is the key to happiness. Accepting who they are will bring the most joy.

And it is all a lie.

"Acts of a friend should result in self-improvement, better attitudes, self-reliance, comfort, consolation, self-respect, and better welfare. Certainly the word friend is misused if it is identified with a person who contributes to our delinquency, misery, and heartaches. "—Marvin J. Ashton

I am in the middle of what could probably be termed the Long Chastening of my life. I have felt pain beyond what I thought I could bear. I feel separated from God, judged for my choices and found wanting. Yet all my pain and sorrow and feeling judged is nothing compared to what the Savior felt in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He suffered inexplicable pain to atone for the world while his closest friends fell asleep.

Aren’t we something less than a friend if we have the gospel of Jesus Christ and are unwilling to share it by word and example with a family, a member, neighbor, or the stranger?" —Marvin J. Ashton

Being a friend, loving someone also includes counseling. It includes sharing your perspective, giving them your whole experience, vulnerability, and perspective. Even if they deny your love when you do. Of course, giving counsel makes it imperative that you demand complete concern for the other person. Not condescending concern. Not selfish concern. And not condemnation.

But sometimes being a friend means you care more about them and helping them be happy than you do about their opinion of you.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."—John 15:13-14

Image "At Gethsemane" by Harold Copping


  1. Thank you for this. I have been trying to make this point across a couple boards these past few weeks, and not surprisingly you have communicated what I wanted to say far better than I could or did.

    1. Thank you! It was one of your comments that made me think about this. When I saw that talk in the conference session for this week's GC Odyssey, I had to talk about it.


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