By Sutherland Staff
Published on December 3, 2018

In this season of thanksgiving and gift-giving, Sutherland Institute wants to share a gift – a series, actually. Between now and the end of 2018, we’ll share important messages from our memorable gala keynote on the blog. This post is part 4 of 4.

Arthur Brooks, at the 2018 Sutherland Annual Gala, shared a homework assignment to turn hatred into love. And – in less than a minute – shared the secret of Sutherland Institute.

Watch the short video clip below to learn how to change hatred to love.

Or read the transcript:

“So what I want to do for the last few minutes of my time is I want to give all of you three pieces of homework so that we can make this thing real. Three assignments – you know, I’m a professor, so I get to do this. Three assignments for you.

“Here is assignment number one. Here’s what I want you to do to turn hatred into love. Number one is put together a list – write it down – of people that you agree with that are pushing you toward greater hate as opposed to more love. The people who are telling you that everything you think is right. The people who are telling you that all the people who disagree with you are wrong. Write down the list. And here’s the end part of that assignment: Turn them off. Because you deserve to be independent. And America needs you to be independent. That’s assignment number one.

“Assignment number two: You know it’s the conventional thing for me to suggest when we talk about contempt is for you to avoid contempt – when you see contempt to move the other direction. That’s wrong – assignment number two is for you to seek out contempt and confront it and to see it as an opportunity in your life. Now, how many of you in your lives have done missionary work? That’s a lot. Why is it hard? It’s not because it’s physically hard – I mean, riding a bike and walking around and knocking on doors. It is what it is. The reason it’s hard is because it’s emotionally hard to face rejection every single day. So I have a solution. I have a solution for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only go to homes where they’re already Mormons. Right. No rejection. They give you lunch, probably. Why is that idiotic advice? Because that defeats the purpose of missionary work. The point of missionary work is going where they’re not saved. Every home where somebody is not saved is an opportunity, isn’t it? That’s the adventure of mission work. OK. That’s the adventure of confronting contempt with love. Go look for it. Imagine if you did this. Now how are you going to do that? There are lot of ways to do it. Number one. Number one is you need friends who disagree with you. Which means you need to go where you’re not invited and say things that people don’t expect and take it if people disagree. How do you do this? It’s actually really simple. It’s what I teach my kids and you teach yours too: Listen carefully and respond with love. And when you’re in a discussion with somebody who’s showing contempt, and somebody with whom you disagree, when you respond with love, that witness may just win. And if it doesn’t, it’s still going to change a heart – you know whose? Yours. Because your big job is to conquer yourself. To die to yourself. Second. You know, I encourage my kids to stay off social media. I encourage you to be on social media because it’s a contempt machine. I want you to go there and instead of criticizing things you disagree with I want you to say five loving and beautiful things for every bit of criticism. Confront contempt. It is your opportunity for grace.

“And here’s my last piece of advice: Get serious about gratitude. Why? Because what I learned with my book, with the interlocutor who showed me contempt and hatred, was that gratitude was the ultimate efficacious expression of warm-heartedness. Gratitude is like magic. It doesn’t just warm everybody else’s heart. It warms your heart. It truly is a form of magic. I have a quote – the reason I have notes here, which I don’t usually use – because I have a quote that I haven’t memorized, but I love. A quote from your beloved late president of your church, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas Monson. ‘Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.’ Think about what he’s saying here. Think about how subversive this is. He’s saying, ‘You don’t feel gratitude? Be grateful. Because then you will sense the thing for which you expressed gratitude even if you didn’t feel it. Gratitude creates its own reward. God is rewarding you, and if you don’t feel it, be grateful anyway to others, and to God for our lives. And then you’ll feel the source of that gratitude.’ You can do that – you must do that. Your third assignment is a gratitude list.”

Watch the video clip below to hear the secret of Sutherland Institute.

Or read the transcript:

“I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful event. On behalf of my friends and my colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute, to all of you who are part of this wonderful experiment, the Sutherland Institute, together we can make the country what it should be. This is our project together. Now I want to talk to you tonight a little bit about the secret of the Sutherland Institute – this great institution that that you support, wisely. What’s the secret to the way they do their work? And the answer is, the Sutherland Institute identifies big problems that people don’t know how to solve. And it rejects the conventional solutions, and it looks for a new way of thinking.”

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