A friend of mine has a brother-in-law who can’t resist imparting little digs and criticisms when he visits. She grits her teeth and tries to tolerate him, but finds herself resenting him, her irritation growing every time he comes over. She despises his arrogance, his nit-picking and his insensitivity. To keep the peace, she doesn’t confront him, but she dreads seeing him.
I asked her what she thought Christ would say about the situation. She said, “Oh, he’d love him, of course.”
Yes, Christ would love him. But two other things: First, Christ would want you to stand up for yourself. We can insist on respectful treatment and set boundaries for abusive bullies. But another thing we rarely consider is this: Christ has overcome that.
And it’s the second thing I want to talk about. Christ has literally paid for every sorrow, every anguish we will ever feel, not just our sins. He has paid for the way my friend feels, and for the rudeness of her brother-in-law.
Christ said, “… In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
This means everything. It brings me so much peace I can scarcely take it in. This means that every time, every day, when something or someone does something annoying, you can literally think to yourself, “Christ has overcome that.”
Do we address injustices? Of course. Do we sometimes need to sit with our burdens and grieve? Yes. But we don’t need to let every little picayune disturbance knock us off course. We can “be of good cheer” and know that Christ really is aware of the details of our lives.
We all have problems, the challenges inherent in mortality. Sometimes they are huge and seem overwhelming by any standard. Life offers searing losses and harrowing experiences. We seek the Lord, we get blessings, we often have friends and family who rally to help us. It’s easy to believe, at these depths of grief, that Christ knows our broken hearts, and will succor us.
But many of us forget that Christ is there for the little things, too. Most of the trials we face are not monumental, but the stuff of daily living. Little events—like a brother-in-law whose comments get under our skin and make us grouchy—we feel are too small for the Lord to bother with.
And yet, these are what comprise the fabric of our lives. These determine the day-to-day spiritual progress we make or don’t make. It’s these little things that make us too tired to read our scriptures, or too exasperated to summon patience. Our mood sours, our tempers shorten, and life becomes drudgery.
Christ has overcome them all. Every sassy comment from a child, every frustration at work, every dream you feel you’ve missed, each moment when you caved in and said or did the wrong thing. Instead of wallowing in despair, we need to lift our faces to the Son, and be grateful that He really has overcome everything.
As mortals, it’s hard to be chipper all the time. We live in what looks like a world gone crazy, sometimes. But that’s the very world Christ has overcome. The social changes we’re all observing, many of which shock us—Christ has overcome everything.
When the brother-in-law comes over, or when (fill in the blank) happens to you, try taking a breath and remembering that Christ has already overcome that. You don’t need to give it your heart and soul, your mood, or more attention than is necessary. It really helps put everything in perspective.
Our part is to trust Him, know that the ultimate victory will be His, and put our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s the first principle of the Gospel. With Him as our partner as we go through life, we can experience genuine peace in our hearts, and truly be of good cheer.
Hilton teaches Seminary. She is also an award-winning playwright, and the author of many best-selling Latter-day Saint books. Those, her humor blog, and YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.