Last week we discussed how LDS singles can maintain a positive focus in their lives. We included seeking ways to serve others, particularly our local leaders and other LDS singles.
We also emphasized one special way to help local leaders — educate them in how to minister more effectively to LDS singles. I wrote a book describing specific actions for ministering more effectively to LDS singles. Sharing this free book with local leaders can help bridge the gap between figurative night and day.
Yet many may still resist change. They may prefer the comfortable status quo, even though they can perform the specific actions outlined in my book in the course of what they’ll do anyway.
How do we reach such leaders? How do we help them to improve their thinking so the lives of LDS singles can improve? We follow the example of our Lord and Savior.
Christ confronted local leaders who refused to see the world differently. He always responded with a quiet yet confident patience that provided room for repentance.
The story of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11) provides an excellent example. Intent on trapping Him, the scribes and Pharisees brought before the Lord an adulterous woman. At first He made no reply.
They pursued a response and got one: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). Knowing their own sins, the accusers removed themselves. Christ affirmed the law while also allowing for mercy.
I don’t suggest confronting our leaders with their sins. Rather I’m suggesting we follow the Savior’s initial response. He wasn’t quick to state His judgement. In fact, He didn’t state anything at first. He simply allowed space for the conversation to change.
We LDS singles can exercise a similar patience. In encouraging our local leaders to embrace more effective ministering to singles, we can give pause. We can make a space that invites calm and compassion. And just as Christ returned to writing on the ground after responding, we can return to doing our part to minister more effectively while our local leaders take the time they need to come around.
The Savior again exemplified responding with patience when He healed a man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-13). The Pharisees, seeing both men in the synagogue, asked the Lord,“Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?” (Matthew 12:10), again with the intent to entrap Him.
Christ again responded perfectly, asking rhetorically whether they would rescue their sheep on the sabbath. Christ then continued, “How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days” (Matthew 12:12). He then acted on that reasoning by healing the withered hand.
We LDS singles can likewise reason with our local leaders. Afterwards, we should exemplify that reasoning with our actions. In this way, we follow the path of the Savior by extending mercy and compassion towards our leaders.
The Savior later taught this same principle to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Our local leaders can know our faithfulness is strong when we exercise patience while they take the time they need to come around.
Still, some local leaders might seem uninterested in change. Treating singles committees as nothing more than activity planning groups and otherwise letting singles fend for themselves may appear to satisfy them. Will such ever come around?
Again, the Savior provides the answer. In his parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Christ tells the story of a young man who, fixed in his own approach to life, demanded his inheritance, which he then spent in riotous living. His inheritance depleted, he came to work feeding swine which ate better than he did.
Then the scripture records, “And when he came to himself, . . . he arose, and came to his father” (Luke 15:17, 20). Some people, including some local leaders, simply choose to learn only within the School of Hard Knocks. They won’t change until presented with the reality of their failure. The Law of the Harvest makes no exceptions. Their actions (or lack of them) have produced their results (or lack of them). In life, we all get according to what we do.
Such babes in sacrament meeting need our patience while they take the time they need to come around. That time may prove more difficult, but we can leverage such experiences to draw closer to our Lord and Savior. We can receive added strength to endure well. We can continue to pray for, fast for, and seek opportunities to serve our leaders. With diligence and patience in following the Master, we’ll see miracles happen. And that will bring more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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