Column written by Shayla Davis
Growing up in Las Vegas had its ups and downs. The Church was strong and so were its members. But one thing I noticed is that a lot of members would watch every move of other members. It was like they were all waiting for each other to mess up and then gossip about what that other person did wrong.
When we see someone walking down the street, what do we immediately look at? Their clothes, their face, their hair? We go to their outward appearance first, and then, once getting to know someone as a person, go from there.
How can we look past all the outward appearances and look at them as children of God? There is somebody who loves that person we see and so does our Heavenly Father.
We don’t see the struggles they might be going through or the issues they are having with themselves or their families.
In society and in the church, I fear that we are focusing on the bad and not the good in others. We are finding the fault in others just because they don’t live up to every standard we set for them. Everyone is human, which means everyone makes mistakes. But will we let those mistakes define who we really are as a person?
I remember being on my mission and reading a letter from my mother about how some members didn’t think I would serve a mission considering my past. Even though I never did anything bad, I was judged because of the group of people I associated with.
I was hurt to think that some members from my ward had such little faith in me and my decision to serve and complete my mission in the Philippines even though it was hard.
I see it time and time again where others are paying more attention to those around them than themselves. It is almost like the media today. They watch every little thing celebrities do, and, when they make a mistake, it is all over the news.
But is that what our society is really falling into?
Are we falling into a place where no one is safe and everyone is being watched like a hawk in everything they do? Even in our own faith?
I hung out with a lot of non Latter-day Saint kids in high school, and my parents used to get criticized by members for allowing their children to hang out with non-LDS kids. My parents’ response was always the same: “We don’t want to choose who our kids can and can’t hang out with, and my chilrdren know their standards.”
Being an example to others around us is what we are always taught. But does that mean to be an example to only those who live our values and standards?
We need to not separate ourselves into categories of “good” and “bad” people. No one is perfect, so that means everyone should be in that category.
That is what I want to get across. Where is the faith? Where is that hope in others? If you don’t have hope or belief for them, then who will?
I believe that we are put on this earth to help others. If we judge others from the outside, how will you see the strength they have on the inside?