Relief Society Lesson: The Worth of Souls is Great in the Sight of God

Here I share my thoughts and questions I had for my own class.

 

How did Nephi see the Lamanites? How did the sons of Mosiah see the Lamanites? (This might be written on the board)

To answer, we read Mosiah 28:1-3 and Alma 26:23-26 and Doctrine & Covenants 18:10-16.

  • What can we learn about how God views all His children?

Sister Kristin L. Matthews gave a devotional where she spoke about value. She even gave the dictionary definitions of the word. She says

a thing’s value is contingent on ideas of estimation, desirability, likeability, and worthiness. It is at the center of the word evaluate—to analyze—yet often we do not ask the questions, Who determines the system of value by which we are considering, classifying, and ranking people or things? Who determines the mechanism of evaluation and the indices of what is evaluated? Who sets the “standard of equivalence” that says some things have greater worth than others?

Please take a moment to consider these questions for yourself. How does society place value on others? How does your community? How do various circles of family, friends, or associates?

Sister Matthews then reminds us “Conversely, God’s system of valuing us promotes connection, compassion, and love. We are His children. He loves us unconditionally, eternally, and unchangingly. Our worth is infinite because we are His daughters and sons. No one spirit is more valuable than the other.”

 

Now, please consider this truth in the light of how you might interact with others. In the spirit of our recent topic of lessons, how might this apply to ministering?

As we know, we minister for many reasons. I personally believe ministering is doing what Christ would have us do, reaching out in love and service to those around us with the fervent desire of helping them as they grow in their testimonies and become closer to Christ and the gospel. But if am to believe that, to truly believe that, who am I to set values on others?

We can help others and help ourselves grow in the gospel, to change our hearts, because of the very real power of the Atonement. I seem to recall in a prior lesson I taught we had a discussion how some of us struggle with accepting the Atonement for ourselves: Sure, the Atonement of course helps you or that person over there, but I’m not so sure about myself. This might be the opposite: I believe the Atonement helps me and you and that person over there and I might say with standard knowledge it helps everyone, but do I truly believe that? Do I believe the Atonement is for all strongly enough that I am willing to do what I can to reach and love others?

I am now going to bring up one of the basic principles of economics: The cost of something is what you give up to get it. Think of what the Atonement means for this.

Elder M. Russell Ballard said the following “I believe that if we could truly understand the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would realize how precious is one son or daughter of God. I believe our Heavenly Father’s everlasting purpose for His children is generally achieved by the small and simple things we do for one another. At the heart of the English word atonement is the word one. If all mankind understood this, there would never be anyone with whom we would not be concerned, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or social or economic standing. We would strive to emulate the Savior and would never be unkind, indifferent, disrespectful, or insensitive to others.”

The scriptures are full of reminders of the importance of one soul. We have the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost money, where people are bound with stubborn determine to find a lost sheep, to find a lost coin. A few weeks back in Gospel Doctrine we read about Jonah and the people of Ninevah who Jonah was all but ready to write off, failing to fully understand how God saw these people.

Now, I don’t mean to suggest certain things. Every person we might minister to or even every person we run into is not necessarily in danger of falling away from the gospel. I don’t think we shoulder the entire burden of bringing others to Christ. I do not want this lesson to be a cautionary tale about how we better do our ministering or else.

Sure, there are many wonderful stories of people who were so seemingly far gone from the gospel that were brought back by a kind work or an act of service. We may even have more tragic stories of those who have yet to be brought back. I don’t even want to fully place the recognition of the worth of others as a sort of prevention. What I would now like to discuss is why it’s so important to we do recognize each other as children of our Father in Heaven.

What are some general thoughts you have on this?

Other questions for discussion:

As we minister or even just interact with others, how do you think a view of their real worth changes how we interact with them?

How would we want others to view us?

What are some of your best qualities? What are the good qualities you see in those you minister to?

How does understanding your individual worth help you want to minister to others?

How can recognizing the worth of others affect our ministering and love?

How can we better the way we view others?

Is it only those who are struggling who deserve our attention?

How can we change by recognizing the value of others and the value of ourselves?

How does ministering and serving others help us in our views of them?

In conclusion, I don’t think ministering is about pitying others, or trying to find that one great conference-talk worthy moment of change. We ought to be making our view of others as close to God’s as we possibly can in this mortal world, and we ought to be working to make that a habit. We do not view others as a project but as brothers and sisters completely worthy of our love no matter where they are in their spirituality and testimony. To me, this idea culminates and wraps up the entire purpose of ministering: viewing others as Christ and our Heavenly Father do.

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