The Savior said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13: 15 in the Bible). Peter the apostle said, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2: 21 in the Bible) “…for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27: 21 in the Book of Mormon)
Doing the works of the Jesus Christ
What were the works of the Savior? He loved the people, served the people, forgave sins, healed the sick, cast out devils and even raised the death. How can we, being imperfect, do the works of the Savior? We can love and serve others but how can we heal the sick? We are surrounded by those suffering from physical, mental, and spiritual sicknesses who would be blessed by our help and loving concern.
Visiting the sick
We have been counseled, “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” (Mosiah 4: 26 in the Book of Mormon)
Being sick, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually, can be very isolating. People spend many lonely hours in bedrooms or hospital rooms trying to recuperate, and it is easy for their spirits to become depressed. As the darkness accumulates, the visit of a caring friend or family member can bring light into their lives.
How we visit the sick can also be important. Listening patiently, sincerely, and lovingly is a valuable support to those who are trying to heal. It is important to tune in to the needs of those who are suffering. Sometimes a short visit is in order because they are very tired. Sometimes they are lonely and bored and a longer visit will meet their needs. It’s also important to tune in to their personalities. Some want privacy and quiet while others want lots of interaction and support. We should first determine their needs and then reach out accordingly.
Bearing one another’s burdens
We can follow the Savior’s example and be willing to bear one another’s burdens to make them lighter.
We each carry burdens of many kinds. These are most difficult to handle when we are sick or struggling with mental illness or spiritual difficulties. One person explained, “The day we buried our young son, we returned from the cemetery to find our neighborhood had come together in those hours while we were at his funeral to completely re-landscape our yard. They had planted beautiful shrubs, trees, and flowers, and even new sod. In the midst of our unimaginable sadness, their thoughtful demonstration of love and support began the healing process for us. It was truly a sacred and symbolic experience that we will never forget.”
A prophet said, “are we willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort“ (Mosiah 18: 9 in the Book of Mormon). Giving comfort encompasses empathy, kindness, thoughtfulness, caring, love, and charity. It is wrapping those who are sick or afflicted in loving arms to help them face their suffering. An important part of comforting the sick is turning them toward the Master Healer. There is no better healing than that of someone who helps you search out or go back to God. It may be just a reminder of what you already know or a new experience of truly relying on God to help you through your challenges.
As we study the scriptures in order to emulate Jesus in His works of healing, we read of Jesus doing one thing over and over: He paid attention to those around Him. Christ noticed people. He spoke with the Samaritan woman despite cultural taboos. He took time to bless the children. He ate with publicans and sinners and ministered to lepers and outcasts. He gave His attention to each. As followers of Christ seeking to learn His healer’s art, we can begin to look upon people with the eyes of Christ. We can take the time to say hello, to smile, to ask about their day. We may never know the healing balm that our efforts may be to those around us who are lonely, depressed, sick, weak, or suffering. Even simple gestures of love can have a powerful influence. As we do the works of Christ and participate in the healing of others, great blessings will flow. As Christ stated, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25: 40 in the Bible). To Him who healed each of us, who has wrapped us in His loving arms more times than we even know, to Him who has offered us the healing balm of His Atonement, we can offer our small efforts to help heal our brothers and sisters.
Dallas Jones, local leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Part of the article and references were from an article by Merrilee Browne Boyack in June 2019 Ensign. For a more detailed discussion call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to [email protected]