Saturday, June 23, 2012

Compassion, Charity, Mercy, and Love

Recently, my husband took our son on our ward father's and son's camp out.  My husband spent some good time chatting with a former mission president around the campfire.  They touched on the topic of sending missionaries home (yes, sometimes LDS missionaries get sent home).  My husband and I have been guilty of taking a letter-of-the-law approach at times and would probably say in this situation, "Well, if a young man isn't behaving as he should on his mission, or if he wasn't worthy to go, then teach him his lesson: send him home."

This loving, kind, former mission president taught us something.  He said that when working with one of these young men, he'd handle it this way:  You can repent and take care of matters while on the mission and return home honorably, or we can send you home now where you'll face the embarrassment and shame of coming home early, and it will ruin your life and probably your involvement with the church (I'm sure he made it sound much nicer than that). Rather than making these young men miserable, he wanted to help them be successful. What a charitable approach.

I realized that I need to do better and give people the benefit of the doubt and to be more compassionate.  It's not my job to lay down the law; it's my job to show love and mercy as the Savior did and make life better for others.  I can leave the judging up to our Father in Heaven.

Not only does this help me be less judgmental of others, but it also, for some reason, helps me lighten up with raising my children.  I don't have to be too strict.  I don't have to make them be little adults.  They can be kids and have fun, and I can have fun with them and be a guide when they struggle just like that former mission president was with his struggling missionaries.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

I love that! I feel like I'm "letter of the law" sometimes too and I know I need to be more merciful (to myself also!). I think it's interesting how you hear so often that one act of forgiveness can finally soften someone's heart and help them truly feel the Savior's love. I'm grateful I've been given second chances and I hope that I will extend them to others as well. Thank you for sharing!