“Let Every Man Esteem His Brother as Himself”

Doctrine and Covenants 38:24–27

24 And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.
25 And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:

“Often we can, usually unwittingly, be quite insensitive to the circumstances and difficulties of those around us. We all have problems, and ultimately each individual has to take responsibility for his or her own happiness. None of us is so free of difficulty ourselves or so endowed with time and money that we can do nothing but tend ‘the wounded and the weary’ (‘Lord, I Would Follow Thee,’ Hymns, no. 220). Nevertheless, in looking to the Savior’s life for an example, I suspect we can probably find a way to do more of that than we do. . . .

“. . . I wish I could go back to my youth and there have another chance to reach out to those who, at the time, didn’t fall very solidly onto my radar scope. Youth want to feel included and important, to have the feeling they matter to others. . . . It is the associations I didn’t have, the friends I didn’t reach, that cause me some pain now all these years later.

“Let me cite just one case, which will be guilt enough for now. In 1979 we held in St. George, Utah, our 20-year class reunion for Dixie High School. We had great high school years filled with state football and basketball championships and a host of other ‘hometown, USA’ memories. An effort was made to find current addresses for the entire class and get everyone to the reunion.

“In the midst of all that fun, I remember the terribly painful letter written by one very bright—but, in her childhood, somewhat less popular—young woman who wrote something like this:

“‘Congratulations to all of us for having survived long enough to have a 20-year class reunion. I hope everyone has a wonderful time. But don’t reserve a place for me. I have, in fact, spent most of those 20 years trying to forget the painful moments of our school days together. Now that I am nearly over those feelings of loneliness and shattered self-esteem, I cannot bring myself to see all of the class and run the risk of remembering all of that again. Have a good time and forgive me. It is my problem, not yours. Maybe I can come at the 30-year mark.’

“Which, I am very happy to report, she did. But she was terribly wrong about one thing—it was our problem, and we knew it.

“I have wept for her—my friend—and other friends like her in my youth for whom I and a lot of others obviously were not masters of ‘the healer’s art’ (Hymns, no. 220). We simply were not the Savior’s agents or disciples that He intends people to be. I cannot help but wonder what I might have done to watch out a little more for the ones not included, to make sure the gesture of a friendly word or a listening ear or a little low-cost casual talk and shared time might have reached far enough to include those hanging on the outer edge of the social circle, and in some cases barely hanging on at all.

“Jesus said in His most remarkable sermon ever: ‘For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?’ (Matt. 5:46–47).

“I make an appeal for us to reach beyond our own contentment, to move out of our own comfort and companion zone, to reach those who may not always be so easy to reach.”

(“Come unto Me,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 21–22.)

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