As I was pondering some scriptures today, the Spirit taught me something that caused a significant paradigm shift in my mind.
Two verses of scripture that are very meaningful to me revealed a blindspot in my perceptions of myself, others, and God. Let’s start with this verse:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.Ether 12:27
How does God show us our weakness? I’ve written about this before, and I’m sure there is a myriad of ways that he does this, but today a new idea hit me pretty hard.Read Full Post
“There is a limit to human charity,” said Lady Outram, trembling all over.
“There is,” said Father Brown dryly, “and that is the real difference between human charity and Christian charity.
You must forgive me if I was not altogether crushed by your contempt for my uncharitableness today; or by the lectures you read me about pardon for every sinner.
For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce.
You forgive because there isn’t anything to be forgiven.”From a Father Brown tale, by G.K. Chesterton
Credit to Ivan Wolfe who posted this in a comment on this article over at Junior Ganymede.
Men are that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)
The word “joy” as found in the following standard works:
- D&C: 42 times
- New Testament: 72 times
- Old Testament: 137 times
- Book of Mormon: 145 times
“…my soul was filled with joy…” (Alma 36:20 )
“…there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” (vs.21)
“…that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (vs.24)
“…the fruit […] was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted.” (1 Nephi 8:11)
“…And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy…” (vs.12)
“Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul. (1 Nephi 11:21-23)
“…they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.” (Helaman 5:44)
“…the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire…” (vs.45)
Taste: to try the relish of by the perception of the organs of taste; to distinguish intellectually; the sense by which we perceive the relish of a thing; judgment; discernment. (Websters 1828 Dictionary)
“I leave something on that tray when I take that bread.” (Bro. Brown, gospel doctrine teacher, TX)
The Sabbath becomes holy when we have separated it from the days of labor, when we have created something new, when it becomes a sign between us and God of a living relationship and a covenant.
God is not intimidated by others ascending, in fact, he desires it above all other things.
Those that truly follow God will inevitably become a paradox to others. This will challenge the follower’s faith as well as that of those around them.
Bread and wine are not naturally occurring, they are the result of man’s intervention. Jesus chose two food sources that took planning and effort to produce. One is a solid, and one is a liquid. One comes from grass, the other from a vine. Both require a crushing process to create. One is chewed the other is not. Both can be prepared and served with or without a fermentation process. Fermentation causes the bread to spoil quicker, while it makes the wine last longer.
We worry too much about “what’s next” instead of “what’s now.”
Words are not truth, they only describe truth. They are like metaphors or symbols, they are not really the things they describe. Herein lies their weakness, but also their power. Weakness because they can never truly capture reality, and power because of their potential to lead one to it.
“Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ. Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips—For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority. Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them; otherwise they shall be cut off. Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit;…” (D&C 60-62,64)
Forgiveness is a recognition of a higher justice, an acknowledgement that injustice will not ultimately prevail. There is no forgiveness without love. God does not seek to merely satisfy justice, he desires oneness.
Forgiveness is the loudest praise, repentance, the greatest peace.
I really enjoyed this quote from George MacDonald about forgiveness:
“…unforgivingness to our neighbour; the shutting of him out from our mercies, from our love—so from the universe, as far as we are a portion of it—the murdering therefore of our neighbour. It may be an infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is the heart’s choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood over the feeling that excludes, that, in our microcosm, kills the image, the idea of the hated. We listen to the voice of our own hurt pride or hurt affection (only the latter without the suggestion of the former, thinketh no evil) to the injury of the evil-doer. In as far as we can, we quench the relations of life between us; we close up the passages of possible return. This is to shut out God, the Life, the One. For how are we to receive the forgiving presence while we shut out our brother from our portion of the universal forgiveness, the final restoration, thus refusing to let God be All in all? If God appeared to us, how could he say, “I forgive you,” while we remained unforgiving to our neighbour?” – MacDonald, George (2012-05-17). Unspoken Sermons Series I., II., and II. (Kindle Locations 569-576).
This reminds me of something a mentor of mine once said, “To deny forgiveness is to burn the bridge over which you too must pass.” I am confident that it was my offering unconditional forgiveness to one particular person who had hurt me that opened the world of God’s redemption and light into my life.
MacDonald insightfully points out that as we ourselves constitute a portion of this universe, by denying forgiveness in our little corner of it, we selfishly and impossibly attempt to place limitations on the infinite atonement. By doing so we make forgiveness for ourselves an impossibility, after all, Jesus himself said:
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:15 NIV)
When it comes to forgiveness, according to musician Matthew West, the prisoner that it really frees is you (song is available on Spotify and iTunes).
To truly forgive, one does not just cease their hatred, offense, or unkind feelings toward another, no, it must blossom into a true and genuine love toward the offender.
A passing-by of the offence might spring from a poor human kindness, but never from divine love. It would not be remission. Forgiveness can never be indifference. Forgiveness is love towards the unlovely. – MacDonald, George (2012-05-17). Unspoken Sermons Series I., II., and II. (Kindle Locations 534-536).
Jesus once told a parable about two debtors. The first debtor owed the king 10,000 talents, but when the time came to pay up, he didn’t have the ability to. The king commanded that this debtor’s whole family and property were to be sold to pay the debt. But when the servant pleaded for more time to pay, the king had compassion and forgave the entire debt. Nice king.
A little later, this same debtor went out to find a man who owed him money. He took him by the throat and demanded payment for the 100 pence he was owed. This man begged for more time to pay but was instead thrown into prison.
Well the king found out about all this and wasn’t too happy, he delivered this debtor over to “tormenters” until he was able to pay everything he owed.
So that’s the story, but it doesn’t really hit home unless you have an idea of what kinds of monetary sums we are dealing with here.
The second debtor owed the first one 100 pence. Back then, 1 pence was about a day’s wage or roughly $180 in today’s dollarsRead Full Post