Yet whatever the cause or extent of injustice, there’s hope. Though not speaking directly to singles, Elder Renlund taught the best way for singles to confront the injustice in their lives — find peace in Christ. He knows our wounds from infuriating unfairness and can heal our hurt. When we embrace the Prince of Peace, we can have faith He’ll right every single wrong.
The peace we seek in a world of infuriating injustice begins inside. Once we get good with ourselves on the inside, we can then turn to help others on the outside. And in helping others become better, we ourselves become better.
That process can’t begin anywhere but on the inside. The strength needed to follow the Savior’s example in serving others comes only from within. Only by getting good with you on the inside can you be in position to strengthen and uplift others.
That requires dealing with unfairness in your life productively. Of course, Christ offers the most productive way of confronting any challenge in life. And so, Elder Renlund points us to the Savior:
The Lord understands what it’s like to carry your burden. He can make your burden light because He’s already carried it. His life wasn’t exactly free of injustice, and the Atonement brought to Him whatever suffering you’ve experienced that wasn’t in His life. He willingly carried all that burden because of His love for you.
And because of that love and willingness to accept your sufferings — burdens which weren’t at all fair He should carry — you can trust Him He’ll support you in this present world and someday somehow correct whatever injustice you experience.
He’ll also help you find advantage in that injustice. As the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi taught, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Every obstacle you face must therefore also come with its opposite. What’s the opposite of an obstacle but an opportunity? So there must be an opportunity with every obstacle.
Likewise, every injustice must come with its opposite. If an injustice is something horribly wrong, then its opposite must be something fantastically right — a delight, a joy, a thrill, a gratification. So every injustice must come with a gratification.
The gratification that comes might not relate at all to the injustice. But one gratification we can all have from whatever injustice we experience is that which comes from supporting someone else in similar circumstances. Elder Renlund spoke of this:
Your injustice gives you an experience by which you can extend compassion and support to others with similar experience. The never-marrieds who experience injustice in the search for eternal companionship as well as those experiencing injustice in divorce or being widowed can reach out to other LDS singles with similar experience. You can leverage your injustice to lift others higher.
That means every confrontation you have with injustice presents you with a choice. You can retreat into yourself and become embittered. Or you can give of yourself and become empowered.
You make your choice with your focus. Focusing on how wronged you’ve been creates a reality of wrong, which leads to bitterness. Focusing on how you can leverage the injustice to help others creates a reality of hope, which leads to empowerment.
We all know which choice is better. As Elder Renlund counseled,
Though the injustice you face may make it easy to feel the Lord has abandoned you, He hasn’t, nor will He ever so long as you turn to Him.
Only the Prince of Peace can grant a fullness of the peace we all seek in the face of injustice. So whatever injustice you face in your life, take the Lord at His word that someday someway He’ll right every wrong you experience, and give Him your burden. When you do, He can heal you and help you leverage your pain for your gain in helping others. Instead of becoming bitter, you become better. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
the General Conference addresses. I always have a hard time picking just one. Returning again and again to Conference is a great idea.
As I recently returned to Conference, Elder Dale G. Renlund’s remarks entitled “Through God’s Eyes” spoke to me again. Reading his words, I found a powerful message I wish many of our local leaders would receive when ministering to us LDS singles.
But seeing Chad’s parents as they saw their dead son shattered that emotional distance. Elder Renlund’s own words say it best.
Then Elder Renlund delivered the crux of his message:
How I wish our local leaders could see us LDS singles as God sees us! Too often no one mourns with us when we mourn or comforts us when we need comforting. It’s easy to say they do that because they’re so focused on family. As true as that may be, I think a larger reason for their inactivity in our lives is they simply don’t see us as God sees us.
Seeing as God sees
Too many leaders reduce singles committees to activity planning groups. They think all they need to do is provide a fireside, a dance, a conference, or some other activity. Then they can rest easy, having “done their duty.”
As wonderful as many of these activities are, not a single one helped me when my cat died, or when I needed a job, or when my girlfriend broke up with me. When the storms of life came to me, I needed support. I needed others to reach out to me and put their arm around me and help me to keep walking. Who was there for me? Not my ward or stake leaders. And neither were any of their agents.
My experiences in different parts of the country convince me that many other LDS singles have the same problem. And I think it’s because our local leaders see us more as numbers on a membership report rather than children of God trying to get back to the same heavenly home they are. And I think they see themselves more as activity sponsors than as ministers of the Good Shepherd to a beloved part of His flock.
Turning the tables
Pointing the finger of blame at others is really easy. But for every finger we point at others, there are three more pointed back at us.
So let’s turn this question around. What are we doing to see our leaders and other married friends in the Church as God sees them? Are we using the same lenses of compassion and concern we want them to use when viewing us? Our complaints about their failure to support us won’t go far if we aren’t supporting them.
Elder Renlund gives some good counsel in this regard. Said he,
I say we go one step further. We should pray that not only we ourselves be filled with this love but also our ward and stake leaders. We should plead with God to open their eyes to our situation and their hearts to our suffering. We should cry for heaven’s help in supporting them and call angels to incline our leaders in our direction. And we should plead with God every day for this.
The changes we want to see in our culture won’t happen unless we look within and change ourselves first. We have to start seeing our leaders as God sees them if we want them to see us as God sees us. And we LDS singles have to start seeing each other, our fellow LDS singles, as God sees all of us.
Only after we adopt that perspective will we see clearly the path we need to take to invite others to come together and live in Zion for real. I pray that we will all adopt this vision and continue to pray for the changes we need in ourselves so that the changes we need in others can come more readily.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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