We went to Joseph's for family home evening last night. We haven't had a chance to go for about a month, so it was good to go and check on them and have family home evening with them.
Some things happened that really have bothered me, in fact, both Elder LeFevre and I didn't get much sleep last night because of what happened.
The lesson was given and it was about the rich man asking Jesus what more he needed to do to get to heaven. Christ tells him to sell all he has and give to the poor and the needy and to "Come Follow Me". The rich man can't do it and leaves "sorrowing". Then the story from the Book of Mormon about King Limhi's father was told and how when he was taught the gospel, he said " I will give up all my sins, to know God" and he does.
The spirit was there, until the next part of the lesson, then the spirit left. The person teaching the lesson, then turned to Joseph and Said" Why have you rejected Jesus Christ" and then kept going on about Joseph not be baptized and by not being baptized, he had rejected the Savior.
For those that don't remember Joseph, he is a 67 year old man, who's whole family has been baptized, except him. He loves the Lord, goes to church every week, teaches his family the gospel, but out of respect for his deceased parents, has never been baptized. Joseph is a good man, who just doesn't understand enough yet about Temples, Eternal Families and the gospel. Elder LeFevre and I have been visiting with him pretty regularly for the last 8 months and we love Joseph and his whole family.
In just a few minutes time, careless , hurtful words, spoken by someone who did not know Jospeh,destroyed every thing that we have been working on for the last 8 month. Joseph was backed into a corner and embarrassed in front of his family, by some one, who's intentions were good, but who had not taken the time to get to know Joseph and the whole situation. And then ,because the answer given by Joseph was not what they wanted to hear, they left very rudely.
We stayed for the next 30 - 40 minutes undoing the damage. By the time we left, Joseph was feeling less offended. and willing to forgive the hurt that he felt.
As I have pondered what happened, several things have come to mind. Jesus never forces anyone to get baptized, in fact we had a war in heaven over agency. It was that important. Jesus also, never would have used accusing words, or backed someone in to a corner, or embarrassed them. He loved them and allowed them there agency. We don't force people to accept the Gospel of Christ, or baptism, we love them, teach them, pray for them and invite them to accept. The spirit leaves, when we try to force, embarrass, or manipulate people into the church, because that is NOT the Savior's plan.
Charity is the Pure Love of Christ, and the Pure Love of Christ would never have treated Joseph the way he was treated last night. In fact if we have Charity, we would not treat anyone that way.
So we will start again to work with Joseph, and hopefully we will be able to help him understand the things he need to, to accept the gospel and if not, we will still love him, because even when all of us do not do what the Lord wants us to, HE STILL LOVES US.