As President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson works daily with people who sometimes see an issue differently.
“Differences of opinion are part of life,” he wrote in a social media post Aug. 1.
“Over the last five years of working together, we haven’t always agreed,” President Nelson wrote. “Still, they know I want to hear their honest feelings about everything we discuss — especially sensitive issues.”
From their examples, President Nelson said he has learned six ways to disagree:
- “Express feelings with love.
- “Don’t think you know best.
- “Don’t compete.
- “Don’t rigorously defend your position.
- “Let the Spirit guide your conversations.
- “Be filled with charity, the pure love of Christ.”
President Nelson ended his post by emphasizing charity: “Charity is the antidote to contention. It is the principal characteristic of a true follower of Jesus Christ. Charity defines a peacemaker.”
Being a peacemaker was the focus of President Nelson’s April 2023 general conference talk in the Sunday morning session. “You have your agency to choose contention or reconciliation. I urge you to choose to be a peacemaker, now and always ...,” he said.
“Let us show that there is a peaceful, respectful way to resolve complex issues and an enlightened way to work out disagreements. As you demonstrate the charity that true followers of Jesus Christ manifest, the Lord will magnify your efforts beyond your loftiest imagination.”
Other social media posts from President Nelson
Since April, President Nelson has posted other messages on social media related to his talk about being a peacemaker.
In a message posted on World Forgiveness Day, July 7, President Nelson quoted the Savior’s response to the apostle Peter when he asked how many times he should forgive someone, and suggested seven times. Jesus responded with not seven times, but “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).
President Nelson invited all “to remember the principle of seventy times seven and extend forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.” He promised that the Prince of Peace will bring peace to those who forgive.
In two social media posts in June, President Nelson invited individuals to become peacemakers and then asked them to share with him examples of peacemakers in their lives.
“My dear friends, we need more peacemakers. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be just that in a world filled with conflict and turmoil. ...
“Anger never persuades. Hostility builds no one. Contention never leads to solutions. We need people willing to put aside their differences, listen with understanding, and love one another as brothers and sisters, as Jesus did,” he wrote.
In a video on Palm Sunday, April 2, President Nelson reflected on the Savior’s example of forgiveness and shared his own story of seeking forgiveness and being forgiven.
“There is nothing easy about forgiving those who have disappointed us, hurt us, cheated us or spread false rumors about us,” President Nelson said. “However, not forgiving others is poison for us. Grudges weigh us down. Angry disagreements separate us. Animosity and hatred can divide families. ...
“But, when we choose to forgive others, we allow the Lord to remove the poison from our souls. We permit Him to soothe and soften our hearts so we can see others, especially those who have wronged us, as children of God and as our brothers and sisters.”
He invited all to free themselves from a grudge they may be harboring. “I promise that as you forgive, the Savior will relieve you of anger, resentment and pain. ... Because of Him, you can experience the joy and miracle of forgiveness.”