The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Elder Maxwell was speaking of dealing with less-active brethren, but the underlying principles he teaches apply in so many other areas as well.  As an introduction and to tie Elder Maxwell’s counsel even tighter to the Atonement, let me add, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

[N]ever underestimate the power of privately extending a simple, loving, but direct challenge. Though it may not be reciprocated, such love is never wasted.
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Organized love is better than generalized concern.
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Church members did not become inactive while crossing the plains, when the sense of belonging and being needed was so profound.
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Let us acknowledge that the strait and narrow path, though clearly marked, is a path, not a freeway nor an escalator. Indeed, there are times when the only way the strait and narrow path can be followed is on one’s knees! And we are to help each other along the path, not give offense.
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[T]he Church is “for the perfecting of the saints” (Ephesians 4:12); it is not a well-provisioned rest home for the already perfected.
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Likewise, unremembered by some is the reality that in the kingdom we are each other’s clinical material; the Lord allows us to practice on each other, even in our imperfections. And each of us knows what it is like to be worked on by a “student” rather than a senior surgeon. Each of us, however unintentionally, has also inflicted some pain.
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Imperfect people are, in fact, called by our perfect Lord to assist in His work. The Lord declared to certain associates of Joseph Smith that He knew that they had observed Joseph’s minor imperfections. Even so, the Lord then testified that the revelations given through the Prophet were true! (See D&C 67:5, 9.)

Unsurprisingly, therefore, we do notice each other’s weaknesses. But we should not celebrate them. Let us be grateful for the small strides that we and others make, rather than rejoice in the shortfalls. And when mistakes occur, let them become instructive, not destructive.

I cherish these generous lines from that very able, but very humble, prophet-editor Moroni:

“Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Mormon 9:31; italics added.)

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
“‘A Brother Offended’,” Ensign, May 1982, 37

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