May 11, 2014

What are you Thinking?

What are you Thinking?
by Elder W. Craig Zwick

"I plead with you to practice asking this question, with tender regard for another's experience:  "What are you thinking?""

We live in a world full of "corrupt communication"- anger, gossip, hurtful words, rudeness, slamming, put-downs, misunderstandings, etc.

"There exists today a great need for men and women to cultivate respect for each other across wide distances of belief and behavior and across deep canyons of conflicting agendas.  It is impossible to know all that informs our minds and hearts or even to fully understand the context for the trials and choices we each face."

Let me share two examples:

1.  In this day and age, there is a thing called "Keyboard Courage"- saying something confrontational online that you would never say to someone in person.  It's a form of cyber-bullying.  A certain woman had a friend from her ward write a rude comment on her Instagram.  This so called 'friend' told her she posted too many boring pictures of her kids and that it wasn't necessary for her to post every single photo she took.  As you can imagine, this rude comment hurt.

2.  Back in January, a large group of protesters staged their first protest since the death of their leader.  This groups attitude was one of hate and opposition.  However, their hurtful messages were met with a positive counter-protest.  On the opposite sidewalk was a very small group of people holding up a simple message for these protesters.  Their sign simply said, 'Sorry for your loss'. source

"The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility-even when we disagree." (First Presidency letter Jan 10, 2014)

"What a masterful reminder that we can and should participate in continuing civil dialogue, especially when we view the world from differing perspectives."

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but [only] that which is good [and] edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)  "What would happen to the "corrupt communication" Paul spoke about if our own position included empathy for another's experience first? . . .I plead with you to practice asking this question, with tender regard for another's experience:  "What are you thinking?"" -What makes you act that way or do or say those things?  -What's going through your head?  How do you see this situation?

I once heard a quote that said something to effect of: "Be part of the 'Construction Team' rather than the 'Wrecking Crew'".  We can do this by using clean and intelligent language that respects uplifts, encourages, and compliments others. We can try to understand where the other person is coming from, what they're thinking.
Years ago, a woman in my ward talked about a sign she has hanging up right over her kitchen table.  The sign says,
"THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! -Is it true, necessary, and kind?"

If only we would just think before opening our mouths.
We need to "listen to each other and understand the other's perspective.  Willingness to see through each other's eyes will transform 'corrupt communication' into minister[ing] grace."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said "The biting of the tongue can, on occasion, prevent the tearing of the heart."

Sometimes things we say and the way we say them are just habit.  With the help of our Savior, we can break and overcome these bad habits.
 May we all be part of the 'Construction Crew' working to build others up.

Next Week's Talk:
by President Thomas S. Monson