Situation #1:

I got up really early the other day to go water skiing, but having pushed the snooze button one-too-many times, I was late to meet my friends. I was taking advantage of the empty streets in my little S10 pick-up, trying to make up all the time I could. I was shocked when I rounded a corner and saw some teenagers still out walking the streets. They looked as though they had not been home all night and were either very tired or under the influence of drugs. What could they possibly have been up to all night; out partying, vandalizing, or just plain "no good." I can't believe some parents' why they ever had children in the first place is beyond me. I think if they're going to allow their children to wander the streets all night, the children should be taken and given to someone who will raise them with some values.

Another Perspective:

Our stake has a wonderful seminary program, staffed by gifted teachers who genuinely care about our youth and their futures. Our senior class has a tradition of getting together at Sister Rosenlof's house for an all night, scripture read-a-thon. Last night the students made an attempt to read The Book of Mormon, cover -to-cover in one night. These students are wonderful young men and women who hunger for opportunities to strengthen their testimonies and develop a better understanding of the gospel. After reading all night, they finally called it quits. Two of the young men offered to walk some of the young women home. After all, it was still very early in the morning and it might not have been safe for the girls to walk home alone. As they were walking down the street, a white S10 pick-up went flying by, and one of the young men said, "I guess we better stay on the sidewalk. It looks like some of the drunks are still out!"

Situation #2:

My wife and I were driving home from 'date night,' late last Friday in our big black Suburban. We noticed a man who looked like he was in a hurry walking through our neighborhood. He had a brown paper bag in his hand, you know the kind I'm talking about, twisted around the top of what appeared to be a bottle.  (Booze, I'm sure.)

"He looks like he can't wait to get home and drown his sorrows," I said in an acerbic tone. My wife hit the power door locks and snapped, "Don't slow down!" I didn't recognize the stranger and I have always hated to see that kind of element so close to home. We live in a respectable neighborhood, and we want to keep it the kind of place fit to raise a family. Ever since they built those apartments down the street, these kinds of losers wander through here more often. I said, "We'd better get our alarm fixed; he's probably a thief looking for an easy target."

Another Perspective:

It was late and Rich was walking as fast as he could. The only thing on his mind was the phone call he just received and the urgency in the young father's voice. He had practically begged Rich to come over to his house.  There was nothing unusual about his request, but Rich was new in town and the two men had just met the week before. It never occurred to Rich to mention that when he answered the phone, he was sitting at the kitchen table rebuilding the carburetor for his only car. And even if he walked, he would have to make one stop on the way. His answer was a confident "I'll be right there." With faith and determination he started walking in the direction of the young man's apartment. Along the way there was a twenty-four hour grocery store, and it wasn't long before Rich was hustling out of the automatic doors carrying a brown paper bag which he nervously twisted I his hands. He might have been concerned about the lateness of the house, but he was in a nice neighborhood, with nice people, and he was on an errand for the Lord. The words, "Please hurry," played over and over in his mind as he tried to prepare for and contemplate his worthiness to before a priesthood ordinance. He also made a quiet commitment to himself, to never again be caught without some consecrated oil in the house. Just about that time, a big black Suburban rushed by without slowing down.

Situation #3

It was almost dark when I sat down beneath a tree to rest my weary legs. I had only a small stream to cross, and soon I would be back within the city limits. I had spent most of the afternoon hiking around on the mountain. I needed some time alone, and have always considered hiking a productive way to keep myself physically and mentally fit. After a few minutes, I heard a sound coming from the slope below me. I noticed four men winding their way up the mountain. They were still quite a distance away and I was sure they hadn't seen me silhouetted against the olive tree. Though my view of the city was magnificent, and the first starts of the evening were flickering overhead, I couldn't keep my attention from the ascending group. It was not unusual to have people who have no other place to stay wander out of town at sundown looking for a safe place to sleep for the night. As they got closer I could see that they were not in any hurry. Slowly placing one foot in front of the other, they appeared to have no where else to go. They looked as if they hadn't a care in the world. What a life I thought, no stress and no worries. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm cold-blooded; I have compassion for the homeless. It breaks my heart to think that some people have very little chance to become successful at anything. And they will probably never have an opportunity to do anything in this life worth mentioning. Then as I suspected, three of them looked as though they were settling down for a good night's sleep. The fourth one continued in my direction. Barefoot and bedraggled, with both long hair and a bread, this one looked like he had drunk one too many glasses of wine. He walked as though his legs were about to buckle, almost like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Suddenly he collapsed to his knees, and buried his head in his hands. It gets to me every time I see a guy like that wasting his life. He looked like he was in his thirties, and in good enough health to go out and get a job. You know what I mean, pull his own weight.  Why can't everyone live up to the measure of their creation?

Another perspective:

Tradition still identifies a garden some two hundred and fifty yards east of he city wall. And "he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples." (John 18:1) And there on the slope of the Mount of Olives, lies Gethsemane. "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast" (Luke 22:41) ".. [he}fell on the ground, and prayed" (Mark 14:35) It was there that Jesus Christ, the son of the living God knelt in prayer. And while his disciples slept, he suffered as no man can even imagine. In agony, and bleeding from every pore, he took upon himself the sins of the world. In one humble, selfless act of love, the salvation of every person who ever lived upon the face of the Earth, or ever will live upon the Earth, was made possible.

All of God's children were created equally. We are each unique individuals.  As we tarry through this marvelous second estate, let us look upon each of our Father's children with kindness and respect. We may feel that we are experts at first impressions, and that no one can equal our judge of character, but until we have walked a mile in another man's shoes, until we have lived his life, we really have no idea who he is, or why he is that way.

How thankful I am to know that Jesus Christ will be my judge, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." (John 5:22)  And he will be compassionate and merciful. And "the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them." (2 Nephi 1:10). I know that first and foremost, before ever casting his judgment upon me, that He will love me. He has always loved me.


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