- The Savior’s compassion in the face of our imperfections draws us toward Him and motivates us in our repeated struggles to repent and emulate Him. As we become more like Him, we learn to treat others as He does, regardless of any outward characteristic or behavior.
He speaks of sin as a disease. He says that the Savior didn't walk away in horror and disgust from those that were brought to Him. Instead he showed compassion, support, and taught them a better way.
- Since God uses disease as a metaphor for sin throughout the scriptures, it is reasonable to ask, “How does Jesus Christ react when faced with our metaphorical diseases—our sins?” After all, the Savior said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”; so how can He look at us, imperfect as we are, without recoiling in horror and disgust?
- The answer is simple and clear. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ views disease in His sheep as a condition that needs treatment, care, and compassion. This shepherd, our Good Shepherd, finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.
Those that were sinners were who the Savior ministered to. He didn't walk away from them or lose hope that they could change.
- The Savior’s mortal ministry was indeed characterized by love, compassion, and empathy. He did not disdainfully walk the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea, flinching at the sight of sinners. He did not dodge them in abject horror. No, He ate with them. He helped and blessed, lifted and edified, and replaced fear and despair with hope and joy. Like the true shepherd He is, He seeks us and finds us to offer relief and hope. Understanding His compassion and love helps us exercise faith in Him—to repent and be healed.
While God understands the mistakes we make, we should not believe that he is acceptable of the sins we make. The Savior wants to save us from our sin.
- While God is empathetic, we should not mistakenly believe that He is accepting and open-minded about sin. He is not. The Savior came to earth to save us from our sins and, importantly, will not save us in our sins.
The change that is needed to turn our sinful life over to the Savior is found in believing He can heal us. Our faith in His divine mission leads us to change and become accepting of His great gift for us.
- The Savior’s compassion, love, and mercy draw us toward Him. Through His Atonement, we are no longer satisfied with our sinful state. God is clear about what is right and acceptable to Him and what is wrong and sinful. This is not because He desires to have mindless, obedient followers. No, our Heavenly Father desires that His children knowingly and willingly choose to become like Him and qualify for the kind of life He enjoys. In doing so, His children fulfill their divine destiny and become heirs to all that He has. For this reason, Church leaders cannot alter God’s commandments or doctrine contrary to His will, to be convenient or popular.
Elder Renlund shares the we have a role to play in bringing people to the Savior. We are to lift, edify, and give reason for hope and joy.
- We, who are sinners, must, like the Savior, reach out to others with compassion and love. Our role is also to help and bless, lift and edify, and replace fear and despair with hope and joy.
He again notes that we should not condemn the sinner.
- A repenting sinner draws closer to God than does the self-righteous person who condemns that sinner.
He encourages us to be respectful and to remove hate from our lives. We are not immune to negative feelings about others but through the Savior, we can look at all of God's children with love and compassion.
- Persecution comes in many forms: ridicule, harassment, bullying, exclusion and isolation, or hatred toward another. We must guard against bigotry that raises its ugly voice toward those who hold different opinions. Bigotry manifests itself, in part, in unwillingness to grant equal freedom of expression. Everyone, including people of religion, has the right to express his or her opinions in the public square. But no one has a license to be hateful toward others as those opinions are expressed.
He concludes with encouragement that we follow the example of the Savior and show respect, love, and compassion to all of Heavenly Father's children.
- Our Good Shepherd is unchanging and feels the same way today about sin and sinners as He did when He walked the earth. He does not recoil from us because we sin, even if He on occasion must think, “But what a sheep!” He loves us so much that He provided the way for us to repent and become clean so we can return to Him and our Heavenly Father. In doing so, Jesus Christ also set the example for us to follow—to show respect to all and hatred toward none.
- As His disciples, let us fully mirror His love and love one another so openly and completely that no one feels abandoned, alone, or hopeless.
This blog has been about finding ways to be a better disciple of the Savior. I read and study with the intent on finding good things to put into my life and characteristics that will allow me to be more Christlike to all those around me. Elder Renlund reminds be we are all God's children and as such, we should treat all men with love, respect, and compassion. Sometimes I get caught up on the actions people have that I tend to think cause their own pain and troubles. One of the things that I am working on is looking at people through the ears of the Savior and not through the mistakes and pains that they have in their life. I am working on this and with the instruction that Elder Renlund gives, I have some great counsel that will allow me to move forward in my quest to become more and more like the Savior.