If you look at Doctrine and Covenants 4, there is a chain of virtues at the end of it, each virtue practiced leads to the next virtue:
Remember, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. (Doctrine and
I never understood what "godliness" was until today...but first.
I really struggle with my negative feelings towards others. Various life experiences have left me passionate and very opinionated about a lot of things, and intolerant about a lot of others. Extremely intolerant.
For example, my neighbor the jerk who backs into my car while he's drunk and then thinks nobody sees it so he drives off and doesn't report the damage to my Acura. However, my Brother in Law saw the whole thing by said crook.
A confrontation with the neighbors yielded nothing and he still comes and goes, pretending he never did anything, and as a result never made amends.
Yes, this is what I'm talking about. Another example, graduate students who make comments like "I'm pretty sure that 98% of the time blah blah blah" and I'm like, "Did you just make up your own statistic to form a 'fact'? We can do that now? And nobody is calling her out on it? And this person is going to be in charge of someone's mental health....gets to define reality...?"
Well, first off, I've been conflicted because I thought I was supposed to have love and compassion for everybody - as in I should like them. Regardless of what they do or did.
I learned today that we aren't required to do that.
When you've got someone who is a dishonest jack-hole like my neighbor - I learned today I am not required by the Lord to like him. As an example the Lord made it clear what he thought of King Herod and he didn't like him.
And you know what?? I get so TIRED of going "Oh, maybe they are this, maybe they don't understand that, maybe they had a bad childhood...."
You know what? Just stop it! Stop the madness! Stop it!
Most people know the basic difference between right and wrong. The ones that don't are in my classes at the mental asylum. And things like my neighbor did are wrong. It isn't the crime of the century, but it sure as heck isn't an act of friendship and trust on my most valuable commodity! And I'm not required to do mental gymnastics of a co-dependent nature to "like them" when their lives smack of bung-holery and dishonesty and disrespect.
But today as I learned what "godliness" is I found a way to cope with my feelings.
Godliness" means that we have a godly perspective about things. To see things through the perspective of the plan of salvation - to not judge after our eyes - to not place an entire judgement upon an individual based on a single act - to still treat them as Christ would have us treat them (honestly and with integrity) but we don't have to like them.
And notice in this chain of virtues that "godliness" is not the final virtue, but a step in a chain of virtues, all of which God possesses.
Well....godliness? Maybe I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it. Perhaps as I practice godliness then charity will come and I can be as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis who were able to lay down their lives that they wouldn't offend another human being.
I want that. I want to be able to do that. I can do that and have done that more than a few times in the military where I didn't think I was coming home or at least not any time soon, to protect another. But you know what? Doing it in the heat of combat situations is one thing, doing it in your daily life? That's an even greater challenge. And that's the one I want to be able to do.
So for now, perhaps godliness is a virtue I need to continue to develop and then maybe in time charity will come.
But for now? I don't like him. Or a million other people.
And that's....okay. I can still treat them as Christ would have me treat them. And quit fighting with myself in the meantime over how I "should" feel or am "supposed to" feel.
I can find peace in repentance as I develop godliness and cast the rest upon the Lord as he has commanded us to. Because if I hate myself for not liking them, how can I ever love them as I love myself?