Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turning Away

In Third Nephi, in the 26th verse of the 20th chapter, it says,

The Father…sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities…

Recently this verse caught my eye, and I read it more carefully. 

Here was the Savior, telling the Nephites that one of his purposes was to bless them by turning them away from their iniquities.

I had to think this through for a little bit.  What did it mean to be turned away from my iniquities?  What experiences in my life caused this to happen? 

I realized that I could think of two general types of experiences that might cause me to be turned from my iniquities. 

The first type were the experience like Sunday School today.  A really great and inspiring lesson from Isaiah that caused me to really think deeply and helped me feel the spirit.  A lesson that made me want to turn away from my iniquities and move myself closer to my Heavenly Father and his Son.

I like those kind of experiences.  I like thinking that one of the Savior’s purposes is to help me have those moments of inspiration.

The other type of experience wasn’t quite so pleasant to think about.  These experiences were generally uncomfortable, resulting in me seeing myself and my weaknesses more clearly.  These were experiences that I felt a need to repent after; experiences that left me wishing that I was better or wiser or more patient.  Experiences that made me want to turn away from my iniquities.

I was startled, sitting there.  The idea that Christ was blessing me by turning me away from my iniquities was and is a total paradigm shift.  I have always hated having something happen that shows me (or anyone else!) my faults and weaknesses.  I would never have considered that these uncomfortable experiences are actually learning experiences meant to bless my live by showing me where work is needed.

Maybe next time I’ve done something stupid, instead of just feeling frustrated with myself I will be able to give thanks for the information I’ve just received, and ask for help in improving in that aspect of my life.  That could be a real blessing.




Good thing I’d had this inspiration, because President Monson’s talk at the Relief Society broadcast showed me plenty of areas that could use improvement in my life…

Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.

Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. The American educator and politician Horace Mann once said, “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.”11

Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.

I can tell already that his talk will bless me in some uncomfortable ways!

1 comment:

  1. What a great insight! I once heard Robert Millet say {whom I LOVED as a professor, thank you very much for your recommendation!} that we should pray occasionally to feel just the right amount of guilt about where we are versus where we should be. Not so much that we feel hopeless and overwhelmed to ever get there, but not so little that we don't have motivation to repent and do better. A great {but kind of scary} idea. =)