“If Thy Sister Offend Thee,” Ensign, Apr. 1990, 33
Our Relief Society class was engrossed in a doctrinal discussion of the three degrees of glory when one sister shared some information about the telestial kingdom. My right arm shot instantly into the air. I indicated that the information was questionable. I explained that during a Church Educational System class I had attended, the instructor had taught that, since he had never seen the information in print, it probably belonged in the “Mormon Myth” file.
Reproach stung my heart immediately—not because of the words that had come out of my mouth, but because my approach had been brusque, without feeling. I had been too anxious to correct the information to consider the feelings of my sister.
I found myself standing near the sister after Relief Society. The admonition to apologize kept pounding in my ears, but I wanted to share my feelings at length and in private. Throughout the remainder of the day, I contemplated possible ways to approach her.
Finally, on Monday morning when most of the family had departed and the noise level was low, I determined to call the sister and try to undo what I had impetuously done. But before I could, my phone rang. On the other end was the sister I had planned to call, thanking me for the wonderful day that she had enjoyed yesterday. At first I thought she was crazy; why would she thank me for embarrassing her in Relief Society? But she explained that she had spent the day studying the principle. She shared her newfound knowledge and taught me much as well.
Even though I had not meant to hurt her, my sister could easily have taken offense when I corrected her. But she chose to grow from the experience, then to take the time to teach me.
My heart rejoiced as I turned to the scriptures and read: “And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled” (D&C 42:88) and “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin” (D&C 64:9).
I’ll never forget the lesson my sister—my example—taught me that day.