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Creating Peace in Challenging Times: by David Allen Foust

“In my lifetime, I have never seen a greater lack of civility. We are bombarded with angry, contentious language and provocative, devastating actions that destroy peace and tranquility. Even peace in the world is not promised or assured until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Savior instructed His Apostles that His earthly mission would not achieve universal peace. He taught, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth... Universal peace was not part of the Savior’s initial mortal ministry. Universal peace does not exist today. However, personal peace can be achieved, despite the anger, contention, and division that stain and corrupt our world today. It has never been more important to seek personal peace.” -Elder Quentin L. Cook

A beautiful song, written for today’s youth by Brother Nik Day, titled “Peace in Christ” declares, “When there’s no peace on earth, there is peace in Christ.”

Here are few lines from that song:

There is peace in Christ - When we learn of Him

Feel the love He felt for us - When He bore our sins

Listen to His words - Let them come alive

If we know Him as He is - There is peace in Christ

He gives us hope - When hope is gone

He gives us strength - When we can’t go on

He gives us shelter - In the storms of life

When there’s no peace on earth - There is peace in Christ

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, contrasted the works of righteousness that qualify us to inherit the kingdom of God - and works that can, without repentance, disqualify us. Among those that qualify us are the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.” Paul also includes bearing one another’s burdens and being not weary in well-doing. Among those works that are not righteous, he includes hatred, wrath, and strife.

Elder Cook said, “Peace and agency are intertwined as essential elements of the plan of salvation. As described in the Gospel Topics article “Agency and Accountability," Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves... So - agency is at the heart of the personal growth and experience that bless us as we follow the Savior. We have choice when it comes to reacting to negative messages around us. Including those on social media.”

Did you know that social media has 3.8 billion users in the world? For good or for bad, social media is the world’s most powerful persuasive messaging tool. Yes, there is a lot of negative. However, social media is important, because it’s one of the most prominent ways we connect with each other, and we cannot ignore it. How many of you know people who have quit using their social media accounts because it had a negative impact on their life?

The fact is that the adversary already has a solid presence on these social media platforms. The adversary always tries to lead people away from the light. He creates counterfeits and slowly steps us farther and farther away from where we want to be.

But we really can’t afford to turn this powerful messaging tool over to him. Do we want to act, or be acted upon? Do we want so-called influencers to define us and what our values should be? We need to be authentic about the way Christ exists in our lives. We need to become the social media influencers.

Did you know that you have already been endorsed by the greatest influencer of all time? In John 8:12 the Savior said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Christ is the light. So, think about his attributes: things like positivity, forgiveness, encouragement… Those are ways we can spread His light.

In Matthew 15:14 the Savior also said, Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” So, Christ invites us to also be a light. Who thinks you're great enough to be an influencer? Jesus. Jesus endorsed you. And he doesn’t just need a few influencers. He needs an entire city. A city so bright that it can’t be hidden in all the darkness that exists on the internet.

When you spread light on social media, show that light in action! Tell how the gospel affects your life. Be authentic. We can be the voice of peace and love and forgiveness in our social media interactions and in these challenging times.

Where else can we find peace? We can also find personal peace in our families. The family is the foundation for both happiness and peace. I assure you that the joy, love, and fulfillment experienced in loving, righteous families produces both peace and happiness. Love and kindness are at the center of having Christ in our hearts and homes.

Our personal peace is also greatly enhanced when we follow the Lord’s prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. He has taught us that we can “feel enduring peace and joy, even during turbulent times,” as we strive to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Listen to the words of our Prophet. Either when he speaks directly to us at General Conference or when he sends out messages to us through social media. Yes! Did you know that you can follow President Nelson on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Share his messages of personal peace through Christ and the Atonement on your social media accounts.

President Nelson has taught us that we can “feel enduring peace and joy, even during turbulent times,” as we strive to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has counseled us to “repent daily” to receive the Lord’s “cleansing, healing, and strengthening power.”

I testify that Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, leads and guides His Church. His life and atonement are the true source of peace. He is the Prince of Peace.

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