In what practical ways can I exemplify mutual respect in my apartment?

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"Respect is an expression of our sense of universal brotherhood or sisterhood-a testimony of our membership in the human family. It acknowledges our common humanity and shows our reverence for children of God. The gospel teaches us that we are to hold the same esteem for others that we hold for ourselves (see D&C 38:25; Matthew 7:12). Acting disrespectfully suggests that we do not esteem the other person as ourselves. . . . True respect, then, comes as we develop our ability to love our brothers and sisters as ourselves" (Terrance D. Olson,"Cultivating Respect," Ensign, Oct. 2001).

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Prepare yourself spiritually

Why is it an essential characteristic of a disciple of Christ to esteem another as oneself? How do you strive to show genuine respect to roommates? Is your apartment today one in which mutual respect is truly exemplified among roommates? Why or why not? Prayerfully study the following scriptures and resources. How can you help group members understand that their love for God can be manifested in practical ways among roommates and neighbors?

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Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this lesson:

  • Read together Matthew 7:12 and discuss the relationship between the Golden Rule and mutual respect.
  • Watch the video "The Sermon on the Mount: The Higher Law." In what ways does our society support the Law of Moses in terms of how we treat one another? How can following Christ's teachings and example elevate our relationships and interactions with our roommates?
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Learn together

Each of the activities below can help Home Evening group members learn how they can build Zion in their apartments. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for the group.

  • Divide into two groups and read "The Doctrine" and "The Bottom Line" sections of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk "The Merciful Obtain Mercy." Ask each group to highlight and share key points from their respective section. Next, read and discuss together the questions and the exhortations posed by President Uchtdorf in the section "The Way of the Disciple." Determine ways that roommates and neighbors can overcome tendencies to criticize, belittle, gossip, and withhold forgiveness. How can mutual respect help us be more Christ-like in our interactions?
  • Watch the "Mutual Respect" section from Brother Troy Dougherty's devotional "The Practical Work of Building Zion in Your Apartments and Homes." Discuss and respond to the interview questions presented in that section. How can you be more respectful and considerate of your roommates? How can you develop the habit of anticipating how your actions will affect others?
  • Elder Joe J. Christensen taught: "Don't be too critical of each other's faults. Recognize that none of us is perfect.... 'Ceaseless pinpricking' (as President Kimball called it), can deflate almost any [relationship]. Generally, each of us is painfully aware of our weaknesses, and we don't need frequent reminders. Few people have ever changed for the better as a result of constant criticism or nagging" (Marriage and the Great Plan of Happiness, Ensign, May 1995). Emphasize that people change as a result of God's love and our love and respect for them. Discuss the following questions: Do you look for and recognize the good in your roommates? Do you speak of their virtues more than you speak of their faults? Do you praise more than you pinprick? Do you overlook certain idiosyncrasies or harmless habits and accentuate the positive? Do you value and esteem your roommates as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of God?
  • Read together the quote found at the beginning of this lesson as well as Philippians 2:1-5. Invite group members to consider why it is sometimes difficult to esteem others as ourselves. Ask group members to share personal or scriptural examples of the practical manifestation of the Golden Rule. In what ways does living the Golden Rule positively change both the situation and the people involved?
  • Watch "The Civility Experiment" and discuss the following questions: Have you ever misjudged someone? Have you ever been misjudged? How did you feel? In what ways do we misjudge or disrespect our roommates? How can we ever learn to err on the side of civility and respect and give a roommate the benefit of the doubt?
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man and woman smiling at camera

Live what we are learning

A lesson is not complete until an invitation or challenge is extended that inspires and motivates participants to apply what they have learned. "It's in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals" (Thomas S. Monson, "A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 59-61).

  • Invite group members to identify someone in their apartment or ward about whom they need to change the way they feel. Have them write a specific goal as to how they are going to go about living the principles taught in this lesson to mend or build a better relationship with that person.
  • Distribute Elder Christensen's quote found in the "Learn together" section to individual members of the group. Ask group members to write three compliments for each of their roommates on the back of the quote. Invite them to express the compliments to each of their roommates throughout the week.