Keys to Loving Those Who Believe Differently

By Becky Squire

A few months ago, I was preparing my last gospel doctrine lesson before the world essentially shut down. I had just sat down to put the finishing touches on my lesson when I got an alert on my phone that church had been canceled for the next couple of weeks. Well, here we are 7 months later and it’s time for me to teach gospel doctrine again. Virtually.

As I was reading through the lesson for this week, a quote by Dallin H. Oaks really stood out to me:

“We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (Matthew 7:12).
“When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries”

Although this was published in 2014, I believe these words are needed right now more than ever. Do you think it’s a coincidence that this was part of the Come Follow Me lesson during the week leading up to election day? Of course not. What inspired leaders we have who know exactly what to say and when to say it. As we go throughout this week and other contentious times in our lives, let’s focus on these 4 main keys, mentioned in the quote above, that can help each of us love those who believe differently.

Love All People

This is the second greatest commandment of all. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” (Matthew 22:39). This means we are commanded to love everyone. This requires us to seek divine inspiration on what to support and what to oppose and how to love and listen respectfully and teach in the process. It demands that we not compromise on commandments but show forth a full measure of understanding and love.

Be Good Listeners

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “Perhaps even more important than speaking is listening. … If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit.” Listening is a skill we each must learn. Listening shows our love for others, helps build strong relationships, and invites the Spirit to bless us with the gift of discernment to help us understand others’ needs.

Show Concern

Concern for others was a driving force in the Savior’s ministry. His compassion for His fellowman caused Him to reach out to those around Him on countless occasions. He blessed them and taught them in ways that mattered most to them. When we serve others, let’s put our biases aside and serve the Savior’s way. As we live righteously and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, we will be inspired to reach out in meaningful ways.

Accept Unfavorable Results Graciously

There will come a time, if there hasn’t already, when things will not go your way. Not only that, but they might turn out worse than you could have imagined. But when our hearts are filled with the love of God, something good and pure happens to us. We “keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world,” (1 John 5:3-4). When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become kind one to another, tenderhearted, and forgiving.


Becky Squire is a writer and speaker. She has been published in several media outlets including the Ensign, LDS Living, and the Today Show. She's also the founding editor of Latter-day Woman Magazine. Follow Becky Squire on Instagram

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