Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given June 26, 2022.
Years ago, a man learned a life-changing lesson after starting a new job. He wanted to connect with some of his co-workers, particularly with a group of employees who seemed friendly and fun. One day, someone in this group invited the new hire to join them for lunch, and soon he was a regular in their lunchtime conversations.
But before long, the new employee noticed that the topic of conversation always focused on other workers in the office — never in their hearing, and never the kind of things those co-workers would enjoy hearing. The group would laugh and tell stories, making fun of certain workers and criticizing or complaining about others. After a while, the man had a simple but powerful thought: “What are they saying about me when I’m not here?”
In a rush of acute awareness, he realized that he did not trust these co-workers. He had always assumed that they never made fun of him — but suddenly he wasn’t sure. The man decided to find colleagues who were more trustworthy friends. And he resolved to be more trustworthy himself.
It’s relatively easy to be loyal and kind to people in their presence, especially when it benefits us in some way. It takes integrity to be compassionate also to those who are absent, who may not be in a position to notice and reward our loyalty. In our natural desire to fit in, we sometimes draw boundary lines that exclude others. Too often, we think we’ll feel more accepted if others are rejected. All that creates, however, is a false sense of closeness.
There is a better way. Think about how you feel around people who are genuinely kind, who look for the best in everyone, and who refuse to take the bait when someone starts to belittle or gossip. Think of the confidence a husband and wife feel knowing of each other’s loyalty, in word and deed, even when they are apart. Imagine how the world might be different if we all sought acceptance by accepting others, if fitting in meant making room, if we treated others the way we hope they would treat us. That would be a life-changing lesson.
Tuning in …
The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoir and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.