“Our Best” Is Different Than “Other’s Best!”


A number of years ago I spoke at a church fireside on the subject of mental health. During my presentation I used the typical example of my hand being the spirit and a glove being the mortal body. I started by putting on a surgical glove to signify the uniting of the spirit, the hand, and the glove, the body. We have all seen this done. However, I advanced this theme by putting a dime on the table in front of me and then picked it up. It was easy with the surgical glove. Then I put on a glove that was a little bit thicker. I told them that some people are given this type of body. Then I tried to pick up the dime, and did so, but with a little bit more effort. I put on a thicker glove. It still fit my hand, the spirit, but it was clumsier. I tried to pick up the dime and I was only able to succeed doing it by picking it up while swiping it off the table. I then put on another glove. This one was a thick gardeners glove. I tried and tried to pick up the dime, but to no avail. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pick up the dime.

Often as parents, adults, or even church leaders, we expect the same out of everyone that we come into contact with, even though all are working with different gloves on. I once had an interview with a woman who suffered from panic and anxiety attacks. She was asked by a priesthood leader to speak in a church meeting. She desperately wanted to do it but told the Leader she just couldn’t. Instead of the Leader recognizing the issue, he proceeded to quote several scriptures to her about exercising faith till he essentially shamed her into accepting the assignment. I am sure the intentions of the Leader were pure. I am pretty sure that when the conversation ended, the Leader felt good as he had encouraged, and finally gotten the sister to comply. However, the sister’s compliance came strictly from shame. As she hung up the phone she told me that she burst into tears and felt unworthy of the Lords love. This had not been the intention of the priesthood leader, but it ended up being the result of their conversation.

Sometimes in our zeal to help others we lose sight of them, because we are too focused on our goal. I have learned that the Lord, indeed, loves each of his children. The gloves (bodies) we have been given range from the surgical to heavy work glove. The expectation is therefore different. Gordon B. Hinckley often said, “Do your very best!” Sometimes it behooves us to remember that “our best” is different from “others best.” If we learn this lesson, we will be more patience, more compassionate, more like Christ in our interaction with others.

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