We had a pretty fun week. It was cold, we ate Mexican food, we saw miracles, and learned from the Spirit.
The Dineharts sent one of the most thoughtful packages I think I've ever even heard of last week! They're awesome, you'll have to thank them for me. It came right in time for us to ask some missionaries to put away a grundle of Texan-style Texan-sized belt buckles that were becoming an epidemic around here. It all went over pretty well with a bunch of candy. "Correcting" is not fun. This morning I read Helaman 7 and wondered what would inspire Nephi to talk like that to his people. We're always thinking about "how to show love" when correcting and teaching; Nephi mostly just tells them they're condemning themselves:
"O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you? 18 It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts. 20 O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?"
Yea, he gets a little strong. Thinking about it, I'm sure Nephi had plenty of love. He easily could have ignored them or looked down on them, but he put himself in danger of ridicule and harm because he cared enough about them to try to teach them in the way the situation required. I've had several moments this last week, where I had the opportunity to be bold, hold them accountable, and call them to repentance, but I more or less held my tongue. It's something that I'm just barely learning about: boldness. But I'm sure if I'm a representative of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ who twice cleared the temple, cast out demons, and was the only person to ever fairly use the word "hypocrite" a large number of times, I'd better do something about it. Luckily we learn from D&C 121 that we are to be: "reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost." It's good to know God tells us when it's appropriate. Often I think the Holy Ghost is really telling me to do something not by giving me peace and tranquility, but kind of a sick, anxious feeling that really motivates me to act! More important than anything is "then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death." It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend." Both correcting and loving are things I'm learning to do, and keeping in mind that God's plan for me is to become like Him helps me know that sooner or later I'll have to learn. I might as well try now!
And just so you know, it's always been your job to correct me because I'm your son, but please feel free to let me know if you think I can ever improve with something!
Love, Elder Decker
Love, Elder Decker