General Conference Study Schedule Week 4: Our Good Shepherd by Elder Dale G. Renlund

 

This weeks topic was, Our Good Shepherd by Elder Dale G. Renlund. In this talk, we were able to get a glimpse of our Heavenly Father’s character as well as His Son, Jesus Christ. Renlund started his talk with this amazing quote so of course I had to create a fun quote card. You can find ALL of the FREE Printables for this talk HERE.

Question: What can we learn from our Heavenly Father’s character?

– Immense compassion He has for sinners.

– Distinction He makes between sin and those who sin.

Question: What can we learn for ourselves?

-We can have a correct understanding of his character, perfections, and attributes.

-Helps us exercise faith in Him and in His son, Jesus Christ.

Question: What can we learn from our Savior’s character?

1: Compassion: The Savior’s compassion in the face of our imperfections draws us toward Him and motivates us in our repeated struggles to repent and emulate Him. Then we will learn to treat others as He does which will enable us to become more like Him.

Outward vs Inward-

Share story #1:

The impact of distinguishing between the outward characteristics of an individual and the individual himself is central to the novel Les Misérables, by the French author Victor Hugo. As the novel opens, the narrator introduces Bienvenu Myriel, the bishop of Digne, and discusses a dilemma facing the bishop. Should he visit a man who is an avowed atheist and is despised in the community because of his past behavior in the French Revolution?

The narrator states that the bishop could naturally feel a deep aversion for the man. Then the narrator poses a simple question: “All the same, should the scabs of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil?” Answering for the bishop, the narrator provides a definitive answer, “No”—and then adds a humorous comment: “But what a sheep!”

In this passage, Hugo compares the man’s “wickedness” with skin disease in sheep and compares the bishop with a shepherd who does not withdraw when faced with a sheep that is sick. The bishop is sympathetic and later in the novel demonstrates a similar compassion for another man, the main protagonist in the novel, a degraded ex-convict, Jean Valjean. The bishop’s mercy and empathy motivate Jean Valjean to change the course of his life.

Question: How is the bishop similar to Christ? Did he look past the obvious outward characteristic and look within? He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” So, how can He look at us, imperfect as we are, without recoiling in horror and disgust?

2: Good Shepherd: Jesus Christ views disease in His sheep as a condition that needs treatment, care, and compassion. He finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.

The Savior foretold that He would “feed his flock like a shepherd,” “seek [out] that which [is] lost, … bring again that which [is] driven away, … bind up that which [is] broken, and … strengthen that which [is] sick.”9 Though apostate Israel was depicted as being consumed with sinful “wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores,” the Savior encouraged, exhorted, and promised healing.

Question: What can we learn? Understanding His compassion and love helps us exercise faith in Him-to repent and be healed.

3: Empathy: Share the following example found in John. This was the effect of the Savior’s empathy on a sinner.

Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery to the Savior. The accusers implied that she should be stoned, in compliance with the law of Moses. Jesus, in response to persistent questioning, finally said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

The accusers departed, “and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

“When Jesus … saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Surely, the Savior did not condone adultery. But He also did not condemn the woman. He encouraged her to reform her life. She was motivated to change because of His compassion and mercy. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible attests to her resultant discipleship: “And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name.”

Question: What effect did it have? He encouraged the woman and she glorified God and had faith.

We have a lifelong quest to follow Jesus Christ. Some things we can do are…

-Reach out to others with compassion and love.

-Help and bless others

-Lift and edify

-Replace fear and despair with hope and joy.

Share story #2

As a teenager living in Europe in the 1960s, I felt that I was repeatedly picked on and bullied because I was an American and because I was a member of the Church. Some of my schoolmates treated me as though I were personally responsible for unpopular U.S. foreign policies. I was also treated as though my religion were an affront to the nations in which I lived because it differed from state-sponsored religion. Later, in various countries across the world, I have had small glimpses into the ugliness of prejudice and discrimination suffered by those who are targeted because of their race or ethnicity.

We must remember what the Savior taught…share quote #2 (see FREE Printable)

4: Unchanging: Our Savior feels the same way today about sin and sinners as He did when He walked the earth. He loves us so much that He provided the way for us to repent and become clean so we can return to Him and our Heavenly Father. In doing so, Jesus Christ also set the example for us to follow—to show respect to all and hatred toward none.

Passout: Print out the free printable below, attach a small mirror and share your testimony about how we should emulate the Savior in our lives and show love to others.

Testimony: Renlund said, “I testify that Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd, who loves and cares for us. He knows us and laid down His life for His sheep.33 He also lives for us and wants us to know Him and exercise faith in Him. I love and adore Him, and I am profoundly grateful for Him.”

Other characteristics I found in Renlund’s talk include the following…

-Merciful

-Joyful

-Helpful

-Nonjudgmental

-Missionary

-Showed love

-Lifted and edified others

-Seeker/Finder

-Encourages

-Motivator

Activity #1: Show a picture of Christ and name all of His outward characteristics. Next, name all of His inward characteristics we learn from Renlund’s talk. Write each characteristic on a post it or index card and tape to photo. Next, hold up a mirror for all to see themselves. Hand out slips of paper and have each person write down their own inward and outward characteristics. Ask them to come up with 1-3 characteristics of Christ that they can emulate in the following week. Ask: What are your thoughts throughout the week? What opportunities occurred?

Activity #2: Create a license for your primary kids, children, etc saying that they will not be hateful toward others. You could write something like they have a license to act like our Savior, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” For us to ask for respect, we must be respectful.

Activity #3: Print Renlund’s quote: “As As His disciples, let us fully mirror His love and love one another so openly and completely that no one feels abandoned, alone, or hopeless.” Attach a compact mirror to each and pass out to your RS sisters, VT sisters, etc.

 

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