I’m going out on a limb, and guessing that not one reader has lived a life free from disappointment caused by others. We could easily compile a list of people who’ve let us down. People can be careless. They don’t always think. They forget. They stumble. They even sink into deliberate cruelty at times.
Can I suggest we not put together such a list? I did this by mistake one night when I couldn’t sleep, and by morning I was in tears. From bullying to abuse, from carelessness to calculated meanness, I was able to think of dozens of times when I was targeted, hurt, ridiculed, and broken-hearted. Any one of us could decide never to trust anyone again.
And that’s exactly what Satan wants us to do, to dwell on past events that are out of our control. Yes, there is sometimes a long journey to healing, but ruminating over the same stuff over and over keeps us from moving forward with optimism. If we ever want to be happy, we must find a way to forgive. Holding grudges blocks our happiness.
And, as we meet with new people, let’s remember that even if our trust is misplaced, we’re still better off trusting and getting hurt than refusing to trust at all. Yes, boundaries must be set when trust has been betrayed, especially to protect us from harm. But we can’t go through life expecting every encounter to end unfairly, every person to be selfish and hurtful.
Instead, we should compile a list of all the wonderful service we’ve received: The people who stood up for us when we were under attack. The people who gave us the benefit of the doubt. They people who looked for ways to help us and build us. The people who reminded us of our worth, the people who made time for us. Those who extended little kindnesses and got nothing in return (“by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”). These are the examples that can restore our faith in humanity. We do well to remember, honor, and emulate such heroes.
But there’s more to this than just refusing to become jaded or cynical, despite the weaknesses of mortals around us. Here’s the key: We need to look to our Savior. Yes, while the entire world is filled with imperfect people who step on our toes—and worse—there is One who will never be unkind, thoughtless, or cruel. He will never stop loving us and wanting the best for us. When it may seem the entire world is filled with disappointment, Jesus Christ stands as the ultimate image of hope and love.
When friends forget our feelings, when bosses impose unfair burdens, when loved ones hurl vicious barbs our way, when it seems the entire world has become mean-spirited, we can take a breath and remember the Lord. His example of loyalty and caring is so colossal that all the sorrows you can possibly collect look like a grain of sand next to an exquisite marble sculpture.
His atoning sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he bled from every pore, and then on the cross as he completed his earthly mission, defies human understanding. We know he suffered for every single one of us, individually. Not only that, but he knows us better than we know ourselves and he still loves us. It’s astonishing. As Elder Robert D. Hales said, “Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine.”
Next time you feel that melancholy grip on your heart, stop and ponder our Savior’s love. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we should remember how immensely blessed we are. Nothing in this world compares with that monumental gift from our elder Brother. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin told us, “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss… every tear today will eventually be returned a hundred-fold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”
And let’s not forget that, even with our best efforts, we also let others down. We wear the hat of the offender, we’re the person someone else is trying to forgive. Unless you are as perfect as Christ, you will hurt someone’s feelings. You will make mistakes. You will need to ask for forgiveness. You will try to make amends.
You may be tempted to slack off because “no one else is trying.” (This, too, is Lucifer’s message.) Some people decide it’s “every man for himself” and join the ranks of the careless and selfish. But we must resist this and cling to Christ’s teachings, to love our enemies rather than try to get even with them.
By deliberately showing forth kindness to those who have hurt us, we experience a rare and delicious fruit. It’s a form of service that yields great peace and even joy. President Henry B. Eyring once said, “Our desire to serve others is magnified by our gratitude for what the Savior has done for us.”
This doesn’t mean we roll over and allow others to abuse us; we practice self-care. But, from this strong, confident, and even cheerful position, we are able to extend ourselves generously to aid someone else. Often it becomes the healing balm that sets a new course for both of you.
So the next time you feel like muttering, “Everyone lets me down,” stop and say, “Not everyone.” Remind yourself that Christ is the constant Good Shepherd in your life. And you get to copy his example, find true happiness, and set a permanent course of contentment that will last forever.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.