“They that be whole need not a physician,” said Jesus, “but they that are sick.” Then He added, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:12-13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31-32).
The prophet Mormon used the same metaphor to explain to his son Moroni why small children do not need to be baptized:
Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God.
Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance;
the whole need no physician, but they that are sick;
wherefore, little children are whole,
for they are not capable of committing sin;Moroni 8:8
When a person is physically ill, our natural reaction is to do whatever we can to help them get well. We don’t condemn them for their illness, even if poor choices might have contributed to their condition. We feel compassion for their pain and want to do what we can to alleviate it. But when a person is spiritually ill, we sometimes react differently. We may distance ourselves from them. We may be critical of them. We may hold back from offering assistance which could help them heal. However, as Jesus points out in the passages above, His focus is on healing people, not condemning them.
In September 1830, Thomas B. Marsh was told in a revelation that he would be “a physician unto the church, but not unto the world, for they will not receive you” (Doctrine and Covenants 31:10). The church is not a collection of people who are spiritually whole. It is a collection of imperfect people who need to be healed. When we see each other in that light, we are in a position to assist the Great Physician in His work.
Today, I will strive to be a physician to those in need. I will respond to both physical and spiritual ailments with compassion and will do what I can to help others heal.