Monday, May 29, 2017

I thought this was a haircut?😳 When giving reproof, are we motivated by love & do we show an increase of love?❤️

Hey everybody! :)

It's funny how the longer I've been on my mission, the less I seem to remember about each consecutive day/week. :P So if I seem to have somewhat little to say... I promise it's not my fault. I do have a funny story though.

So last P-day, we were planning on getting haircuts. We were finishing emails when the other elders walked into the computer room. They needed to get across town to sign some papers from a doctor's visit, and we had plenty of time, so we decided to be nice and drive them there.


Montreal has two seasons: winter, and construction. Combine that with what are possibly the worst roads in the northern hemisphere, and a trip that would normally take 15 minutes takes you about an hour. So, thirty kilometers and four hours later, we found ourselves back in our apartment without haircuts and with about an hour and a half left of our P-day. Not trusting each other to give a good haircut in such a small amount of time, we instead decided to get professional haircuts. There is a barber shop right near our apartment, so we walked over and found ourselves sitting down in a comfy chair in no time. There was only one couple working there, and the husband was busy doing something else, so we took turns getting our haircuts from his wife. I was a bit distracted by a call that we got while Elder Valencia was getting his haircut, but I vaguely noticed that they moved to the other side of the room to get his hair shampooed (not sure if that's a verb, but I speak French, so whatever) and washed out (nice place, huh?). I did notice that when he walked back over to where I was sitting, he was looking at me funny, with sort of a "deer in the headlights" expression. As I was thinking about something else, I pretty much assumed that if he was going to tell me why, he would, but he just let me go and start my haircut without a warning.

The haircut itself went pretty normally, and if I do say so myself, I looked good. Then she said, "Alright, let's go wash out your hair." So we got up and walked over to these weird reclining seats (for the record, my mom always cut my hair back home. Barber shops are very new to me.) where I found myself leaning way back and putting my head into some sort of bowl that made me feel like I was at the dentist's office. I soon found out that what I didn't realize about this situation was that included in the cost of your average haircut was a free head massage.

What you have to understand about missionaries is that we are very "no touch." We don't even hug people of the opposite gender (except for our mom right before we leave). So massages are kind of out of the picture. So when this lady started massaging my head, I kind of freaked out. I tensed up super bad and started to think about all the other places I wished I could be, and yelling at myself mentally for wanting a haircut. I wasn't gonna just jump out of the chair (I still had shampoo in my hair... also a first for a haircut) so I just sat there and endured, my nails digging into my hands, while I waited for it to end. Elder Valencia and I just laughed about it afterwards, especially because massages are usually designed to relax you, and it had the opposite effect on both of us. So yeah, that's my funny story from this week. We're probably not going back there. :P

I was listening to a talk on Sunday, and the sister who was speaking quoted Brigham Young on the subject of reproof. The quote struck me, so I found out what it was in English and wanted to share my thoughts on it this week.

"If you are ever called to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up. … When you have the chastening rod in your hands, ask God to give you wisdom to use it, that you may not use it to the destruction of an individual, but to his salvation." -Journal of Discourses, 9:124–25

This made me think. I am pretty.... firm... in how I treat people sometimes. I am a person who usually sees things as very black and white. You are either obedient, or I will beat you up. (Not really. But... a little bit.) I tend to be very clear with people when I think they're making excuses to be disobedient, and this also applies to myself; I will beat myself up pretty solidly when I know I made excuses to disobey a particular rule or commandment. I am just as incapable of purchasing my own salvation as the next guy, trust me.

But we are, at times, called upon to help each other to change and to repent. This is usually when we are in a position of leadership, be it as a mission leader, or a quorum or auxiliary president, or a parent, or any other position in which we are responsible for another's physical and/or spiritual well-being. In those moments where we need to give a reproof, the Lord has commanded us, "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile — reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and 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." (D&C 121:41-44)

I received a training once on this scripture, in which the person giving the training explained that we should think of "sharpness" less in the context of a cutting tool and more in the context of picture clarity, as in a sharp photo or sharp contrast. Our goal in giving reproof should never be to cause pain or grief to the individual, but to teach, to help understand, and to love.

Just a thought for each of us to ponder this week: are we being sure to think about the bigger picture when we give reproof? Are we thinking about our motives? Are we thinking about how we will show forth that increase of love? If not, what can we do to improve?

I love you all! En avant!

Elder Bryan McOmber

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