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Jeff A. Barnes, second counselor-Liberty Missouri Stake Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encourages all to “strive to be a little kinder, a little more loving and a little more accepting” as communities emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is an old saying that states “April showers brings May flowers.” In our case, it feels more like “May showers, brings June flowers.”

As we finish a wet spring and head into the summer months, we are seeing more and more progress in overcoming the COVID pandemic that has plagued the earth for the past 16-plus months. I am grateful that we appear to be overcoming this pandemic.

As health orders have changed and restrictions have been lifted, I am aware that many are still very concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

While no longer required, I am aware that many still feel a need to wear a mask. Many are not comfortable around those who have stopped wearing masks. Many were never comfortable wearing a mask in the first place. Many in our community have received the COVID-19 vaccine. I am also aware of many that are choosing not to receive the COVID vaccine for one reason or another.

Each of us has our own opinions, feelings and comfort level on these and other issues facing the world.

We are each entitled to these opinions, feelings and level of comfort. As I have pondered the feelings of others, the words of a song sung by the children in our congregation have come to mind.

These words are:

“I’m trying to be like Jesus;

I’m following in his ways.

I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.

At times I am tempted to make the wrong choice,

But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,

For these are the things Jesus taught.”

As we move forward in these interesting times and as we emerge from the COVID pandemic, my goal is to try to more fully be like Jesus and to love one another. I invite all to do the same.

I invite all to follow the admonition found in the New Testament in Matthew 22:39: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Let’s all strive to be a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more accepting and simply “love one another like Jesus loves you.”

President Jeff A. Barnes is second counselor-Liberty Missouri Stake Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wrote this submission on behalf of the Liberty-Area Ministerial Alliance.

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