Sometimes we think we’re helping when we’re not. I know I do. Sometimes my wife will have to sweetly say, “Please, stop helping” and she’ll put the word “helping” in air quotes…Some of my help makes more of a mess…
One of my friends posted the following quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland on her Instagram. I instantly loved it:
“Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.” (“Like a Broken Vessel”, October, 2013)
Sometimes people mix up their work with God’s work. God’s power repairs. Sometimes it is painful, but it seems to be part of God’s job to repair us when we are broken in any way. But sometimes we think we should “help” others feel the pain they need to feel in order to change. Sometimes we do it by talking unkindly behind a person’s back (or to their face), treating them harshly, giving them the silent treatment, and reminding them of their broken-ness.
God can help people feel what they need to feel through the Spirit in order to change. According to Elder Holland, our “job” is to be merciful, nonjudgmental and kind, regardless what decisions a person has made.
Unfortunately, rather than just being “in the way”, our supposed help can actually do damage. For instance, sometimes we think we’re being helpful when we point out the flaws of others, you know…to help them. Then when they feel bad we think, Well, good. They should feel bad. This will help them change. People do this with their spouses, children, neighbors and others in the community. We ought to let God handle what people feel, when they feel it, and to what depth.
We can handle the efforts to be “merciful, nonjudgmental and kind”. Certainly there are moments when we may be called upon to offer correction, but those moments probably involve stewardships: parenting, certain callings in church, and maybe managerial moments at work. But even those moments can be “merciful, nonjudgmental and kind” while still accomplishing the tasks assigned to us.
When all is said and done, we are most helpful when we allow God to do the correcting and put our efforts into being encouraging…
Be Encouraging (of course)…