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November 1, 2020 - Who influences us?

To be Christlike, a person loves mercy. People who love mercy are not judgmental; they manifest compassion for others, especially for those who are less fortunate; they are gracious, kind, and honorable. These individuals treat everyone with love and understanding, regardless of characteristics such as race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and tribal, clan, or national differences. These are superseded by Christlike love.

Elder Dale G. Renlund, "Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God", General Conference, October 2020

Christ denounced those that treated others unfairly, or those that had impure motives in their actions. That doesn't mean that He didn't love them with His pure love. He just didn't approve or agree or even condone what they were doing.

Likewise, I try to be like that too. Granted, I am not saying that I'm like Christ. I am far from being like Him. I am trying to be like Him, but I have a ways to go.

I try to see every single person as a child of God. Hard to do though. But that doesn't mean I approve or agree or condone what they are doing. I don't judge the person but I do consider the actions of a person as something I do or don't want as part of my own life or character. I want to be surrounded by characteristics I would like to emulate in my own self. I like to think we are all like that.

But sometimes circumstances don't allow that. Negativity, even downright evil, permeates into society at every angle. That seems to be increasing too. Although there are still genuinely good people all around us, there are also fake, evil influenced, and self centered people around us, especially those with hidden agendas. We cannot avoid that.

That is why we need to surround ourselves with the things of God. As we immerse ourselves in the scriptures, pray constantly, pay tithing, serve others, observe the sabbath, and more, then we are indeed surrounded by those with the characteristics that we do want around us. However, the majority of these characteristics are with those on the other side of the veil. We can't see them, but they are there. We are influenced by them being there. We may not recognize that influence but it is, nevertheless, penetrating our own character.

Influence is there, regardless of whether it is a positive one or a negative one. And we have a say on which one we absorb.

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