"When I was a boy I had a wonderful little cocker spaniel dog named Smokey. Smokey liked to play ball by having me throw the ball as far as I could behind the shop in our backyard, by the woodpile, among the fruit trees, or in the garden—wherever. Smokey would not give up until he found that ball and brought it back to me, only to repeat the cycle again and again. Smokey became my best friend, and I loved to play with him day after day.
"Smokey had only one fault. Not only was he obsessed with chasing and retrieving tennis balls, but he was also obsessed with climbing our front fence and chasing after loud trucks passing by on our side street.
"One day I heard a truck coming, and immediately I thought of Smokey. Before I could reach the front gate to stop him, he had climbed the gate and was already halfway across our front lawn, headed for the wheels of the truck at full speed. I called for him to stop as loud as I could, but it was no use. Within an instant he was nipping at one of the rear wheels of the truck, running to keep up. A few seconds later one of his rear legs somehow slipped and got caught under one of the wheels, also pulling his pelvis under the wheel. Smokey was left in the street crying and yelping in tremendous pain.
"I ran over to him and tried to comfort him. As I got close enough, he immediately bit my hand as hard as he could. I was astonished. Why would this wonderful dog I loved so much bite me? My mom came out of the house, and somehow we were able to get Smokey in a large burlap bag and into the car. At the vet’s office we were told that Smokey’s body had been so badly hurt that he would have to be put to sleep. I was devastated and confused.
"What happened was not an easy thing for a little boy to understand. It took me some years to learn the lesson from the experience. Those who are hurting often strike out and hurt those they love most, simply because they are hurting. Have you noticed that sometimes when we hurt, this is how we treat our Heavenly Father and others? This is not how our Savior acted when He was hurt—when He was despised and spit upon by others and when He was crucified.
"It is not easy, but, in the long run, learning to act like our Savior Jesus Christ and to love our fellow man and God no matter what hurt may come to us is easier than any other alternative. With God’s help I know we can overcome the natural man and become like Him. Elder Gene R. Cook explained it this way: 'As we increasingly think and act like Him, the attributes of the natural man will slip away to be replaced by the heart and the mind of Christ.'
"Many years ago I learned from a wonderful man who served as my mission president, Elder Glen L. Rudd, that all of us need four things in our lives:
"When any one or more of these four needs are missing in our lives, we often will act as we ought not to act. Understanding this can be a great help in learning to love others, no matter what they may do. It can also help us see why we are not acting at times as we ought to be acting. When you see a friend or loved one letting the natural man take over and not acting as they ought to, ask yourself which one or more of these four needs might be lacking in their lives—or, for that matter, we should ask this same question when we are not acting as we ought to act in our own lives.
- We need to be loved.
- We need to be trusted.
- We need to be understood.
- We need to feel that our work is appreciated.
"I want to make you a promise. If you see someone acting as they ought not to act, ask Heavenly Father if there is something you might do to help them feel more loved, more trusted, more understood, or more appreciated for their efforts. If you ask sincerely, really wanting to help because you love them-and God—the Holy Ghost will give you some inspiration—even revelation—concerning what you might do to be of help."
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Acting "as we ought not act"
Robert H. Todd: