In our family scripture reading this morning, we read these words of the Savior:
And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.
I was reminded again that the Lord's gospel is one of inclusion, not exclusion. The Savior repeatedly invites us to come unto Him; He does not send us away.
Even so, He also does not relax his standards or change His expectations for us. We are commanded to be perfect as He is. But as I grow in the gospel (and, though I've been at this over 45 years, God's not done with me yet!), I continue to learn that He does not expect me to be perfect overnight. In fact, I simply cannot be.
And that's another reason for His continuing invitations to come unto Him. If I am to follow His commandment to be perfect, it will be only through Him. His atoning sacrifice is the only hope I have of obeying Him.
But the other thing that I felt as I read that verse in 3 Nephi this morning is that I should make sure that I am not sending someone away; I also need to invite those around me to come unto Christ. I need to do that in the way I behave toward others, but I also need to directly invite people to come unto Him. Those people may include members of my family, friends, acquaintances and strangers.
I've written before about the lessons I have learned in my own family about inviting my children to be close to me, even if we do not see eye to eye on things that are important to us. I believe those lessons are consistent with the Savior's teaching, as well. We are not about sending people away, but we are about drawing people in -- drawing them into our circle of influence, drawing them near to us with charity, lifting them up, mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that stand in need of comfort. That drawing in and strengthening is at the very heart of our covenants as members of the Lord's church.