"See that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually" (Alma 41:14)
It's been a while since a scripture has deeply impacted me. I found this while reading the June issue of the Ensign magazine yesterday and I loved it. It was in an article titled "Cultivating Sensitivity to Others". It really stood out to me because this is something that I have strived to do since I was young, before learning the Gospel and joining any church. Whenever I would hear someone constantly speak ill of another person, it would give me great discomfort. I thought that surely this person couldn't be that bad to warrant being put down repeatedly. Being young, I, of course, did not always abstain from gossip or ill-speak. But I never felt right about it.
As I grew older, my empathy only grew and I tried to be careful about understanding a person's situation or point-of-view before I spoke of them. I think some of this may have come about from being the one of whom others would sometimes quickly and thoughtlessly speak ill. I was a child that would sometimes make poor decisions, and because of those, many of my friends' parents would speak ill of me, judging me without trying to know me. It hurt. Sometimes people think that kids have so much attitude that they're bulletproof. They're not. And some of those harsh words and feelings from years ago are still felt.
But, there were also some excellent examples of how we should behave towards others, especially the wayward. I had a few best friends whose parents showed me nothing but love and acceptance, despite my continuing to make some bad choices. They would show that they were opposed to the action, but continued to show love to me. What an example.
It is because of those people, and the guidance of God that I believe I now possess the blessing of being discerning when it comes to what is said about others. I even have a wonderful husband that has told me time and again that what he loves most about me is that I do not speak ill of others. It is such a wonderful feeling to hear that from the man I love, someone who I respect greatly.
So, I am hoping that you will read the scripture above and remember it the next time you come across a wave of gossip or someone who has nothing but bad things to relate about another. Words can hurt or they can uplift...either way, they are permanent. Choose them carefully.