BYU ancient scripture professor John L. Hilton III gave an Education Week speech about finding peace through extending mercy to others and ourselves.
He outlined four principles in his video: mercy to others, mercy to ourselves, mercy instead of judging, and mercy not sacrifice. Through these principles and solutions to conflict in life, Hilton said people can find peace and happiness amid regrets.
Hilton is an animated storyteller who brings ancient scripture stories to life. As he told the stories of David, Michal and Hezekiah’s Passover celebration from the Old Testament and Moroni and Pahoran from the Book of Mormon, Hilton expressed loving solutions to the difficult conflicts that occur in life.
“Rather than get offended or angry with others we can respond with the spirit of ‘It mattereth not, I am not angry,’” he said.
Hilton emphasized that living with regret can cause obstacles to finding peace. He suggested that most people dwell on their mistakes too often and forget to feel the pain and move on.
“Jesus wept on multiple occasions, and it’s okay for us to cry too. We can take time to be sad,” he said. But once the mourning has occurred, Hilton said it is important to process the grief and learn from it for the future.
He reminded his listeners that everyone deals with regret and to extend mercy to themselves because “one mistake does not define you.” He illustrated this point with the story of Joseph Smith losing 116 pages of the Book of Mormon transcript and how he found solace after such a big mistake.
Hilton said many negative emotions are prevalent in people’s lives today such as worry, fear, discouragement, anxiety and depression. He assured that even the mightiest prophets dealt with these emotions. “These are scriptural words, and our scriptural heroes faced these same emotions. Each found greater peace through Jesus Christ,” he said.
He also shared a story from his mission where the traditions and cultures of the Church got in the way of an investigator staying at church. He described that little things are sometimes transformed into big things that cause hurt or offense in others. Instead, he suggested people live their lives with the thought that “the Good Lord pardons everyone.”
With this merciful attitude, people will accept all as Christ would and extend love to them, he said. Choosing mercy instead of judging will bring peace to all involved.
His last point focused on how Latter-day Saints should emphasize sacrifice and traditions less and instead encompass Christ’s love through the “weightier matters of life.” He said it is possible to deepen discipleship through extending mercy over the showy rituals and sacrifice of traditions.