I saw someone upset yesterday about...wait for it..."prayer-shaming" on Facebook.
We have officially gone over the edge of reason.
We are now free-falling as a nation into the utter abyss of "beyond ridiculous."
See, the offense being taken is caused by someone else suggesting that thoughts and prayers are USELESS in times of horror and unspeakable tragedy.
"How dare you tell me not to say that my prayers are with the victims!" the article cried. "Prayer is all I have!"
"No! Prayer is useless. It's a stupid, archaic practice that yields zero results!" the retort is.
Well. I think it's inexcusable to create divisiveness over people's lives--lives that were lost, and the loved ones they left behind, damaged.
Stop it. Everyone just stop.
Let's do this instead:
Let's pray with our whole hearts.
Yes, let's pray for the victims' families, who's hearts will never heal.
Let's pray for our leaders and law enforcement, and military that they can be protected, led, and that they will be strong, honest women and men.
Then, let's pray like we've never prayed before to be LED to ACTION.
It is not enough to pray.
Scripturally, we know this is true.
Moroni 7:48 demands, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
Pray with everything we have in us not just for others, but that we can be the ANSWER to someone else's prayer.
How can we as followers of Jesus Christ BE the change? We must work at it.
We must give until we can't give anymore.
We must put more energy into healing than hurting.
Know your neighbors. Meet them, befriend them, truly care about them.
Assume the BEST in people. Yes, they may hurt you, but don't let that stop you.
Help the person on the street. Buy them a sandwich, give them a dollar.
VOTE! Vote your conscience.
Smile at people.
Be kind to cashiers, public service workers, nurses, police, everyone you meet.
Get past your own prejudices. Pray that you can be shown your own ignorance and then make an honest effort to erase it. Let Christ make you a better person.
Pay tithes and offerings.
Give to charities doing honest, important work.
Teach your children to love others with all the energy that they possess.
Show them how through your own service to them, and to others.
Love people with more than your words. Love them in action.
Get out of yourself, your own busyness, and help.
Practice the "Thumper rule" in real life and on social media. (What's the Thumper rule? "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all.")
Don't engage in petty, online contests of who is the most correct, politically, socially or religiously. Just don't do it.
I'm fairly convinced that if we truly practice what we preach, we can heal people, even those not of our own faith.
The more that we LIVE what we BELIEVE then the more kindness there will be in the world.
No, we can not solve the world's problems exclusively through living the truth we know, but my goodness, what if you could prevent someones pain? Even just a little bit? Wouldn't you do it, if you knew it would help someone?
I am far from perfect at these things. But I'm trying to live the gospel. Actually LIVE it.
I think one of the things that bothers non-Christians about us is that we can sometimes come across as "all talk" with no action to back it up. So, while we SAY "Love one another" we appear (despite our best intentions) to not be doing that.
In fact, Isaiah warned of this very thing millenia ago.
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with the lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me..." Isaiah 29:13.
We are all hypocrites by nature. We sin constantly even though we know better, right?
But! Let's try a little harder to be a little less hypocritical. We need kindness and love in the world as badly as we need air.
Thomas S. Monson taught, "Actually, love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love."
Christ as our perfect brother, taught us how to be through his words AND his deeds.
So, let's pray with all the energy of our hearts, and then let's GET TO WORK to make the world better.
No, you may not prevent a deranged madman's crimes, but you might.
You just actually might.