Sometimes, in the instantly gratifying world we live in, people grow impatient because they aren't getting the time, resources, material goods, food, or whatever else they say they "deserve". In the news online, on TV, or in the newspaper, one can easily spot the attitude of people thinking they somehow just by existing, they inherently deserve this or that. Often, I have heard individuals express disgust and contempt for those who take advantage of government welfare, even though they do not need it. Undoubtedly, such people who are truly "working the system" have an attitude like this, in some way. But the important and meaningful question here isn't whether or not this person or that person is acting as though they deserve something. Rather, I would ask the question, why does it bother us so much in society when someone is unjustly using the welfare system? I would submit that our consciences tell us that such assistance is for those who really are in need, like the elderly, the disabled, and those who have hit a tough spot. It is not fair for people to use something not intended for them, just as it would not be fair for someone to take personal belongings of ours, since they did not buy them. We did. Let's dig into the relevance of this a bit, then. While we, whether LGBT and Mormon or not, complain about those committing such atrocities, we ourselves are doing the exact same thing. Each day, in our conversations, at work, on little trips to the store, or elsewhere, this attitude somehow sneaks into our personal living.
I imagine that some people have become indignant or skeptical at this point, perhaps both. Huffing in irritation, such readers are probably thinking, "Well, he's got this all wrong. I am a good person, I help and love people, do good at my job, and whatnot. Who does he think he is?" Shamelessly, I confess that it does not make sense to anyone who has read thus far. I catch myself in this mindset quite frequently, sometimes every day, if only for a few moments or so. Recently, it took over my life for a few weeks and wreaked havoc on my social relationships. This attitude, which destroys relationships if left unchecked and causes all kinds of grief in our lives, is that of entitlement. More specifically to us, it is the attitude of entitlement towards love, given and received. What examples could I possibly give, then? Here are a few that I've thought up:
- Your mother telling you she's entitled to your time, and/or to give you advice, since she raised you and provided for you growing up.
- Expecting a friend to do __ because you did __ recently for him or her.
- Thinking that someone "should" be friends with you, because you did this or act like that.
- Believing that pure love can equal others reciprocating that love in some way or another.
And the list goes on... Insert whatever expectation, "should-y" attitude, preconception of love, and so on that you hold in that list, and there you'll find exactly what is causing the pain in your social relationships. Many of my readers may not pursue gay relationships, but I'm sure some out there do. Orientation in relationships does not matter in terms of having things go smoothly. What really matters is how love is being given and received, of any kind... affection, friendship, or romance. Christ once declared, "do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil." (Luke 6:35) Nobody is entitled to or deserving of love. We all are worthy of it, for sure, because we all are children of our Heavenly Father. However, there is only one thing that each of us truly "deserve", in any sense, and that is the justice of God. It is only through the intervention of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we have hope of returning to our Heavenly Father again. If we all got what we deserve, we would go straight to hell after we died. As Nephi once said, to paraphrase, were it not for the mercy and grace of God, we would become like unto Satan, to be angels to him forever (see 2nd Nephi 9:8-10).
To promote healthy friendships that some SSA men and women utilize to manage their attractions, and to ensure healthy relationships of any kind, let us love unconditionally. For those trying to live the gospel, what better tool could you have in your hands for intimate friendship, than to give love unconditionally until people can't help but feel loved by and close to you? I can't think of any. To everyone, let's not think either that we are entitled to the love of others in any way, or that we are justified in placing expectations (not to be confused with moral standards) on others before or during a friendship/relationship. I once read a quote that said, "Give love without any expectation of receiving it again, and your life will never be the same". I personally can attest to the truth of this statement, because the more I live my life with that sort of love, the better my social experience is. I think it is hard to live by that small phrase, "charity seeketh not her own", but when love is given freely for the joy of it, others sense that and relationships flourish marvelously. What each of us deserves is justice and subsequently, hell. By practicing this principle, however, we can create heaven here and more fully ensure our inheritance of eternal life after this life ends.
Love you guys! Until next time...