Let Nothing Turn Us Away

At one point in His ministry that marked a turning point, Jesus taught doctrine about our needing to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:51–58). Some who followed Him found this doctrine hard to swallow. They said, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” and then many “walked no more with him” (vv. 60, 66).

Some turn away from Christ for less than a lack of understanding or difficulty accepting His teachings. For some, it takes more, but still they turn away.

In April 2022, Elder Randy Funk of the Seventy taught about the comparison of the Church of Jesus Christ to a sheepfold. He said, “The safety and well-being of the sheep depend on their willingness to come into the fold and to stay in the fold. Among us there may be some who feel they are at the edge of the flock, perhaps thinking they are less needed or valued or that they don’t belong in the fold. And, as in the sheepfold, in the fold of God we sometimes step on one another’s toes and need to repent or forgive” (“Come into the Fold of God”).

This last statement sparked the Parable of the Crowd at the Concert Hall. Deirdre, the main character, went downtown for a rare concert opportunity. Many others converged on that place. As she waited in line, entered the building, and made her way to her seat, she encountered people who found reasons to leave, mainly due to being bumped or jostled by others in the crowd.

It seems silly to buy a ticket, so to speak, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and then lose out because of some inconveniences caused by other people. But sadly, some allow this to happen—they take offense whether it’s meant or not and let that overpower their testimony and covenants.

I don’t say this to diminish cases where people are genuinely injured in some way, but rather to point out that if we wouldn’t let a bit of jostling stop us from once-in-a-lifetime entertainment, why would we do it when it comes to our salvation?

When I have to drive somewhere, there are a lot of people I’d honestly rather not share the road with based on how they drive. But I get in the car and go about my business anyway.

In his vision of the tree of life, the prophet Lehi saw multitudes of people making their way along a path with an iron rod through mists of darkness to reach the tree and partake of its wonderful fruit. This wasn’t mentioned in the account, but I wonder how many people along that path accidentally stepped on others’ toes or bumped into them, especially as they went through the mists that blinded them for a time. I wonder how many people could gather under the tree without a bit of inadvertent jostling or bumping as each person tried to obtain the fruit. Did any of them leave the path or the tree because of such annoyances? I think it’s possible.

One of the many points made by Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that has seemed so obvious and at the same time so profound is this: “So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we” (“Lord, I Believe”).

The preventive measure we can take is to become devoted to Him to the point that we are as longsuffering as He is, where we will let nothing turn us away from Him. When our covenants and discipleship are what matter more to us than what others may do, and we’re willing to forgive others, we obtain more of His power in our lives.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

On commenting: Please share your thoughts! You can leave an email address, but it’s not required. Leaving an email address may prompt you to sign in with a social media or WordPress account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s