Avoiding Contention and Keeping the Spirit with Us at All Times

Avoiding Contention and Keeping the Spirit with Us at All Times

While serving in Ukraine a little later on my mission, I had a companion that I didn’t get a long with very well. We had different personalities, different work ethics and strategies, and on top of everything he was narcoleptic. At first we went our own ways and butted heads on what seemed like everything. Not only were we not successful but our zone struggled as well.

One morning as I was studying my scriptures I came across Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 – “And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.” The conflict we had in our companionship effected the spirit we carried with us, so I prayed to know what to do. And this is what I received:

  • Serve Him
  • Pray for Him and more sincerely
  • Look for the Positive in Him

I implemented these things in our companionship and although we weren’t best friends we had the spirit and were able to teach. I wrote in my planner as a constant reminder that transfer: We both want to get along so differences or not agree to disagree and strive to serve.

3 Nephi 11:29 – “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” When we choose to be contentious whether we started it or not or even if we are right or wrong we have chosen to turn from God and give in to the power of Satan.

I have noticed that contention usually is developed from pride as the previous story illustrated. So how can we avoid contention and keep the spirit with us at all times? I have come up with five things we can focus on to avoid contention and keep the spirit:

1. Contention is selfishness, learn to serve and focus on others.

  • When we are serving others not only are we serving God but our hearts are softening and a love of God and all men begins to grow in us.

2. Contention Clouds the mind and puts impure thoughts in our heads so study the scriptures and pray for understanding.

  • In Preach My Gospel on page 19 – True doctrine, understood, changes attitude and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” As we study and apply the gospel our minds are more focused on God and we realize who we are and also that those around us are also sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Our moods will change and our will becomes more in line with that of our fathers. Virtue garnishes our thoughts.

3. Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 – “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.”

  • Not only do we need to pray always and have a continual prayer in our hearts, but our prayers must be meaningful and heart felt. We need to focus on what we say and forget outside events or cares for that moment that we may be guided by the spirit and ask not amiss. We need to have a relationship with the Father.

4. It is easy to jump to conclusions and misinterpret things, so always seek the positive and give others the benefit of the doubt.

  • No one wants to always be contentious or offend. Seek for the good in people. Try and understand where they are coming from. As we seek to look for the things people do well we will smile more and be able to more easily avoid conflict.

5. Keep the Commandments!

  • If you are doing this the spirit will always be with you.

I would like to relate another story from my mission. I had another companion who from the beginning hated me no matter what I did. I tried to serve him and pray that I would have charity. I would pray for him and study my scriptures intently. I did everything in my power to try and make the companionship void of the conflict but no matter what I did he still hated me. He would tell me throughout the day “Shut up I am going to punch you in the face.”

I guess in a way he was sort of a profit because later that transfer I was punched in the face by a Ukrainian teenager. At the moment that I was punched I had an overwhelming love come over me for him and my companion. I wanted them to be happy and cared for them greatly. I helped the young man up and invited him to our English classes. He refused, but because of this different outlook the outcome was vastly different!

In closing if we are in the right frame of mind and close to God every potential opportunity for contention will be avoided because we will be guided by the spirit on who to avoid it. Again the five things are:

  1. Serve
  2. Study the Scriptures
  3. Pray meaningfully
  4. Seek the Positive
  5. Keep the Commandments

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