Yesterday I was talking with a close friend of mine who hasn’t been to church since last fall. He’s never felt a part of a ward, never felt accepted. The fact that he wasn’t able to serve a mission due to emotional/psychological issues adds fuel to that fire. According to him, members haven’t treated him very well.
Now, the reality is that at church we’ve all experienced some level of disrespect by some unthoughtful person/s whether that be a bishop or a RS president or Gospel Doctrine teacher or a primary leader or whatever. That’s the reality of worshiping with people who are working out their salvation. However, this friend has encountered it one too many times and needs some time to heal.
(I should add that his testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel is strong. No doubts. He understands the principles and strives to live an upright life. It’s his attitude that precludes him from coming to church, not any major sin.)
He recently moved into a new ward, but still hasn’t gone. Soon after his records were transferred he got a call from his home teaching companion (ya gotta love the efficiency of the Church). He quickly got down to business: when could they visit their assigned families. My friend wasn’t interested. He told him he couldn’t go. "Well can you do it on Wednesday then?", "Um, no.", "How about Thursday?", "I work and then I have plans.", "Can we go before you do your plans?", "Nah." He never went, he still hasn’t been to church, and he has yet to get another call, visit, or inquiry about who he is, how he’s doing, and if he has any needs.
This is unfortunate. This is the exact situation that we as members of Christ’s Church should be excelling at, not failing. I told him he should have told the guy point blank, "Don’t you realize that I’m the one you should be worrying about here? I’m the one who needs a visit, I’m the one for whom home teaching was invented. Why don’t you ask me what I do? Why don’t you ask me what my interests are? Or is that the stewardship of my own home teachers?"
Now, I understand that I’ve heard only one side of the story. I also know this friend very well and know that he has a tendency to see the negatives rather than search for the positives. It may be a form of justification. However, my friend is still inactive and still hasn’t been visited by anyone and that’s disappointing.
Listening to his situation makes me want to be more sensitive to those around me. It helps me understand my stewardship a little better. It also writes in my head a dozen posts on home teaching.