Visiting Teaching Message:

Charity Is Not Easily Provoked

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    Objective: To learn to avoid anger and contention.

    Because her husband was at an early morning priesthood leadership meeting, Mary struggled alone to get her family ready for church. The baby was fussing, little Rebekah could not find one of her shoes, and four-year-old David spilled food down the front of his clean Sunday shirt. Frustrated, Mary felt like giving up and staying at home. Arriving late for church, she was still angry with Rebekah and David, and it was hard for her to feel a spirit of reverence.

    Most of us sometimes feel frustrated or impatient. But when we express those feelings by becoming angry with someone, we offend the Spirit. As we try to come unto Christ and perfect ourselves, we should ask ourselves not “What is fair?” but, “What would Jesus have me do?”

    Jesus endured great persecution. (See 1 Ne. 19:9.) He even asked forgiveness for those who crucified him. (See Luke 23:34.) Although most of us don’t have to deal with great persecution, we are often “provoked” by small things. Rudeness, disobedience, waiting, disagreements, disappointment, and unfulfilled expectations can irritate us, especially if we are tired, sick, or in a hurry.

    At such times, our first feeling may be anger. But we can choose to react with charity instead and not be “easily provoked.” (Moro. 7:45.) We can turn the other cheek (see Matt. 5:38–39) and respond with patience and kindness.

    There are things we can to do develop a spirit of charity. We can concentrate on ways to control our anger or impatience. Taking a deep breath and stopping to think for a moment before speaking sometimes helps. Getting in the habit of asking ourselves what Jesus would have us do in the same situation can also help. Prayer and repentance also heal our spirits and fill our hearts with love.

    By learning to avoid contention and to control our anger, we stop evil from being passed on to others. We become more like Jesus, whose self-sacrifice made eternal life possible for all who come unto him and follow his example.

    Suggestions for Visiting Teachers

    1. Read Matthew 18:15, 21–22 [Matt. 18:15, 21–22] and talk about what Jesus taught us to do if we are offended by someone.

    2. Ask the sister to think about some things that can provoke people. Talk about ways we can learn to react with charity when these things happen.

    (See the Family Home Evening Resource Book, pages 31–35, 48–51, 79, 98–101, 106–8, 138–40, 168, 173–74, 180–81, 235–247, and 251–53 for related materials.)