What Does Patriotism Mean to You?

In Relief Society (the women’s organization in our church) yesterday, I facilitated the lesson and began with the question What Does Patriotism Mean to You? There were women from other countries, and it was inspiring to hear their passion for home and country.

I then read a quote from Hugh B. Brown, which I think is so poignant, “Strive to develop that true love of country that realizes that real patriotism must include within it a regard for the people, for the inhabitants of the rest of the glove. Patriots have never demanded of good men the hatred of another country as proof of one’s love for his own. Acquire tolerance and compassion for others and for those of a different political persuasion or race or religion. This is something demanded by the heavenly parentage that we all have in common.”

We discussed what it means to love (and not judge) all of our fellowmen, wherever they may be and whatever their circumstances. The Savior has commanded, “Judge not.” He also said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” 

One of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa is, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Isn’t that so true?

I ended the lesson with these beautiful words from President Monson, “I consider charity—or the pure love of Christ—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient. I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others. There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.”

Preparing for this lesson was a great reminder of what God expects of me—of us all—to truly love everyone and to love and honor country. I am grateful to be an American and for the opportunity I have to visit other countries.

Happy birthday to Canada (a few days ago) and to America!  

P.S. This was my extremely simple handout—a bookmark—hardly worth posting, but I haven’t posted without a photo forever, and I didn’t want to start now! (Smile)