Friday, March 5, 2010

Liberality Without Upbraiding

It’s a fine line we must walk between what we desire of others and how we treat them when they choose differently than what we desire of them. What causes someone to choose differently is beyond my ability to fully comprehend, so I simply deal with the choices and try to help that person to whatever extent s/he will allow it. I “preach” to those who are willing to listen; I simply love those who aren’t willing to hear my preaching.

Constantly preaching at someone who simply needs to be loved and respected can do as much harm emotionally and spiritually as slapping them physically. I believe we tend to equate our own desires and yearnings for the movement of the Holy Ghost far too much, so we end up “reproving” far too often - even when that reproof is couched in sugary terms of love and concern. “Giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not” is a difficult standard, but it is representative of most of the descriptions we have of how both the Father and the Son deal with those who choose to act differently than they have asked. Even Alma, as he went about trying to destroy the Church, was told that he could do whatever he decided with his own life - but that he should not try to drag others along with him.


Anonymous said...

I've had a similar experience-when we had a teenage child making decisions other than those which would have harmonised with our teaching,I had an experience in prayer,counter to all the information I had up to that point,which indicated that I should cease attempting to teach by precept,that the time for that was over and that it would be an act of violence to this young person to continue to attempt to persuade under the circumstances.I was also told to continue to teach by example.It was a hard thing to conceive of at the time as it flew in the face of all guidance we were receiving from ecclesiastical authorities.Sure wish I'd has access to the thinking I've found here as a balm to my soul.Interestingly,I do not regret following that revelation,it saved our relationships.

Renee said...

Beautiful thoughts. True words. Thanks agian.