How Can I Be Bold Without Being Overbearing?

Alma gave the following advice to his son Shiblon: “Use boldness but not overbearance” (Alma 38:12).

What does that mean?

boldness — Willingness to take risks and act innovatively; confidence or courage.
overbearing — Unpleasantly overpowering.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

How can we be bold without being overbearing?

We choose to be bold when we speak up in defense of truth. A person who is filled with love and who has a sense of mission will be bold: “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear” (Mormon 8:16).

But we must also show respect for the people around us. The prophet Joseph Smith taught that, the moment we seek “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness,” we offend God, and we lose His Spirit and His power (D&C 121:37).

President Dallin H. Oaks has spoken about the importance of speaking up while showing respect for the views of other people:

We must not compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand. We must not surrender our positions or our values….
Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” General Conference, October 2014).

Today, I will strive to be bold without being overbearing. I will speak up with courage, and I will show kindness and civility toward those who may disagree with my positions.

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