OPINION — I’ve said my prayers every night for as long as I remember, and I remember back to when I was 2.
For some time now, when I’m in bed and while saying the Lord’s Prayer before I go to sleep, when I come to the part about asking for God to forgive my trespasses as I forgive others who have trespassed against me, I stop and I ask God to help me not to be so judgmental of others, not to swear at the guy who just cut my car off, or complain inside about the loud party at the restaurant or thinking the guy I see at the store who has a lot of tattoos is somehow a lowlife. Same for the smokers and the drinkers.
I know that what I’m feeling is wrong and that the Lord sees that and is judging me. I’ll ask for his forgiveness and guidance to be better than I am now. I fear sometimes it’s a losing battle, yet I really do try and stop myself when I do those things. I ask, yet again, for his forgiveness and guidance.
Also, for some time now, I’ve noticed something happening more and more often with people. People who I know are kind and generous are now sitting in judgment of others and voicing out loud their condemnation. Conservatives hating anyone who doesn’t feel the same way about everything as they do. Liberals doing the same. Pro-gun groups, anti-gun groups. Pro-life, pro-choice. This and that. It’s become so bad that it is tearing us apart — family members, friends and neighbors — feeling an ever growing divide building up between them. It’s no longer about a difference of opinion, it’s downright aggression against each other. It is another Civil War in the making.
Such language and attitudes bother me, and I admit I sometimes have been on that bandwagon myself, but I know I’m wrong in thinking and acting that way, and I ask God to forgive me my sins.
I want to ask each of you who bother to read these words of mine to stop and consider what I have said here. If you believe in a higher power that sits in judgement of how you live your life here on Earth, or if you want to be the best person you can be, then I implore you to take stock of changes that have happened to you slowly over the years.
Do you find yourself speaking and thinking more negatively about the people around you? Do you find yourself angry more often? Do you look down at others different than yourself? I hope you can stop and consider that those people are probably very much like you and they want the same things out of life as you do.
Maybe the solution is to get to know one another better. To be kinder to one another during these stressful times instead of biting back at people you don’t bother to stop to get to know. Maybe you’re like me and you find yourself sitting in judgment of them. I’ve realized it, and I’ve done my best to change, to be kinder to others as I was taught to be when I was little, but I seem to have forgotten that lesson as I’ve grown older.
Maybe we can change and instead of thinking we are right and everyone else is wrong, we can offer to get to know those other people, turn a stranger into a friend. Talk with one another and come up with solutions to our worldly problems instead of making them worse. I would ask you to stop to help a stranger, someone you see who needs help. Pay it forward to those people the many kindnesses given to you during your life.
If a lot more of us can do that then we have a good chance of making it through these troubled times in much better shape than we will be if we continue down the path we are on now. That path leads to ruin for everyone.
Submitted by ROBERT JENSEN, Washington City.
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