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Archive for the ‘Kindness’ Category

Dear brothers, unless we train ministers capable of warming people’s hearts, of walking with them in the night, of dialoguing with their hopes and disappointments, of mending their brokenness, what hope can we have for our present and future journey? It isn’t true that God’s presence has been dimmed in them. Let us learn to look at things more deeply. What is missing is someone to warm their heart, as was the case with the disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32).

That is why it is important to devise and ensure a suitable formation, one which will provide persons able to step into the night without being overcome by the darkness and losing their bearings; able to listen to people’s dreams without being seduced and to share their disappointments without losing hope and becoming bitter; able to sympathize with the brokenness of others without losing their own strength and identity.

– Pope Francis

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At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

~Albert Schweitzer

* * *

I met a stranger in the night,
Whose lamp had ceased to shine;
I paused and let him light
His lamp from mine.

A tempest sprang up later on,
And shook the world about,
And when the wind was gone,
My lamp was out.

But back came to me the stranger—
His lamp was glowing fine;
He held the precious flame
And lighted mine.

– Lon Woodrum

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I have been thinking lately about the power of words. Too often, people use harsh criticism against others. There may be instances where criticism is justified, but these should be very rare.

Critics may act out of pride, envy or fear. This is especially noticeable on Internet blogs and message boards where people often make personal attacks against others anonymously.

On the other hand, we have daily opportunities to give one another words of kindness and encouragement. When I walk around my neighborhood, people are very friendly. They wish me a good morning or good day.

I have assembled some scriptures and quotes on this topic which I hope you will enjoy.

* * *

Just as healthy food and exercise gives physical strength to one’s body, hearing words of encouragement gives a boost of emotional and spiritual strength to one’s soul. This week’s Torah portion is the last one of the book of Genesis. There is an ancient custom to exclaim at the completion of one of the five books of Moses the following encouraging words, “Be strong, and may we be strengthened!” We can light up people’s lives and do a great act of kindness when we use our words to give them a boost of strength. (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

– Nesanel Yoel Safran

* * *

The Apostle Paul taught:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

* * *

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
– Mother Teresa

* * *

Kind words don’t cost anything but they go far for the people receiving them. And, it feels good to say nice things.

– Daylle Deanna Schwartz

* * *

Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years…..Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes….Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.

– Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
(April 2005 general conference, Ensign, May 2005, p. 26)

* * *

We sometimes sing a hymn in my church which has the following chorus:

Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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The poet Lon Woodrum wrote:

I met a stranger in the night,
Whose lamp had ceased to shine;
I paused and let him light
His lamp from mine.

A tempest sprang up later on,
And shook the world about,
And when the wind was gone,
My lamp was out.

But back came to me the stranger
His lamp was glowing fine;
He held the precious flame
And lighted mine.

* * *

Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 25

[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
[32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
[33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
[35] For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
[36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
[37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
[38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
[39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Let us remember that as we serve our fellow man, we are serving our God.

* * *

Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.
– President David O. McKay, General Conference, October 1963

* * *

Service changes people. It refines, purifies, gives a finer perspective, and brings out the best in each one of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward. It prompts us to consider others’ needs ahead of our own. Righteous service is the expression of true charity, such as the Savior showed.

First, service helps us establish true values and priorities by distinguishing between the worth of material things that pass, and those things of lasting, even eternal, value. Our beloved prophet counsels: “If you would find yourself, learn to deny yourself for the blessing of others. Forget yourself and find someone who needs your service, and you will discover the secret to the happy, fulfilled life.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1979, p. 34.)

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (D&C 58:26–27.)

Derek A. Cuthbert, The Spirituality of Service, LDS General Conference April 1990

* * *

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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The Apostle Paul taught:

1 Corinthians 12

[1] Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
[2] Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
[3] Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
[4] Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
[5] And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
[6] And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
[7] But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
[8] For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
[9] To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
[10] To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
[11] But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
[13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
[14] For the body is not one member, but many.

So verse 9 states that some have the gift of healing.

Who are these people who have the gift of healing? In many cases, doctors and nurses have this gift.

So we must visit the doctor when we are ill in order to benefit from the Lord’s gift of healing.

Prayer is also important. We should ask the Lord in prayer that he will guide the doctors and nurses who treat us.

* * *

Those of us who are not doctors or nurses can still provide healing to others.

Sometimes we can help people heal by just listening to them as they explain their problems.

The author Leo Buscaglia said:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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We are the summation of our thoughts, words, and actions.

Our words and deeds arise from our thoughts.

What we do and say also shapes our thoughts.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us many scriptures on these topics through his apostles and prophets. Here are sample scriptures and some verses from hymns.

Thoughts

Jesus, the very thought of thee, With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see, And in thy presence rest.

1 Chronicles 28

[9]  And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Poverbs 23:7

For as he (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Doctrine & Covenants 121:45

Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.

Words

Psalm 139:4

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Proverbs 16:24

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Matthew 12:36-37

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Ephesians 4:29-31

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

1 Peter 3:10

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.

We sometime sing a hymn in my church that has the lines:

Let us oft speak kind words to each other
At home or where’er we may be;

Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

Deeds

Psalm 15:1-2

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.

Proverbs 20:11

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.

James 1:22

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only

Another hymn ask the questions:

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

[Chorus]
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

* * *

The apostle Paul taught that gratitude should accompany our thoughts, words, and deeds.

And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him.

– Colossians 3:17

* * *

“In this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be “perfect” men and women in at least this one way now-by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today.”

–Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, May 2007

* * *

“The kind of life you live, your disposition, your very nature, will be determined by your thoughts, of which your acts are but the outward expression. Thought is the seed of action.”

–President David O. McKay, “Developing a Christlike Character,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay

* * *

“We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.”

–President David O. McKay
(C. A. Hall, The Home Book of Quotations, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935, p. 845.)

* * *

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

― Albert Schweitzer

* * *

“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unpremeditated’ as to those which are deliberately executed. …

“In the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. … Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master. … Man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”

“Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”

– James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, excerpts

* * *

“That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * *

May we glorify God through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

And may God bless you,

Tom Irvine

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Lonn’s Shovel

I once knew a man named Lonn Butler, a righteous man who has since gone to be with the Lord.

Lonn was 90 or so years old when I knew him.

He had pecan trees in his backyard.  A sapling had grown near one of the trees.

My wife Jan wanted to have a pecan tree in our own yard, so she made arrangements for us to go to Lonn’s home to dig up the sapling and transplant it into our yard.

So we went to Lonn’s home on a Saturday morning.  Lonn supplied the shovel.  The shovel was old and had deep cracks along the handle.  I was able to dig up the sapling, but the shovel broke in the process.

I had not placed any excessive stress on the shovel.  It was really not my fault that the shovel broke.

So we thanked Lonn for the sapling and drove away.

But I felt uneasy.  So I drove to a hardware store, purchased a new shovel, then returned to Lonn’s home to give it to him.  Lonn was very happy to have the new shovel.

* * *

The point of this story is that people are like Lonn’s old shovel.  Many have deep cracks or wounds in their souls.

Do we want to be the stress that breaks them?

We must be very kind towards others.  And we should be willing and prepared to help those whom we have hurt.

* * *

Galatians 5:22-23

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.

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