Thursday, January 22, 2009

Comment on Obedience

I posted this as a comment on someone else's blog about obedience.

When I went home for Christmas, we had a pretty heated debate about obedience in sunday school (with all of the old army men, country folk, and ex-Baptist preachers). Some people were of the opinion that it is better to obey half-heartedly than not to obey at all. Others thought that begrudging obedience counts for nothing. Overall, there was a lot of interesting discussion that I got a lot out of.

Our actions are a) reflections of our thoughts/fruits of our beliefs and/or b) practice for what we want our thoughts/beliefs to be.

Say there is a service project. Ideally, we should want to go out of the goodness of our hearts in order to serve our fellow men. More likely, we go because we WANT to be the kind of person who serves from the heart, even if we’re not necessarily there yet. Or, we go to see our friends, be social, show off how righteous we are, etc. Or, we go because we are forced/feel some sense of duty, and hate it the entire time. Or, we don’t go at all.

I think, in this situation, going to the service project only does you any good if you are in the first two categories. Going either reflected that you have a good heart or is your way of trying to better your heart. Otherwise, you don’t get anything positive out of it.

If we are to be judged on our hearts, and not our actions, then our actions are pretty pointless if we don’t believe in what we’re doing. If we don’t love our fellow man, all the service in the world isn’t going to make up for that. If we use our actions as practice for becoming better people, then of course it is better to be obedient even if we aren’t necessarily in the mental state that we think we should be in. But if we aren’t attempting to make progess… then our actions are fairly pointless.

That’s what I got out of the discussion, anyways. And a lot of it rang really true to me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Everything is gonna be alright, be strong, believe

Life is beautiful. But life is hard.

Everyone goes through hard times. Everyone has moments when they feel hopeless and miserable. Everyone experiences pain.

The amazing part is that we never have to suffer alone.

In Alma 7:11-12 and Isaiah 53:4 we are told that Christ suffered, not only for our sins, but for our sicknesses, afflictions, griefs, sorrows… every pain we experience. No trial is too small for the attention and comfort He offers. No tribulation is too trivial and no situation is too simple.

Sometimes, it is difficult to see the future through any lens but that of our pain. We have been encouraged by General Authorities to have hope. We have so much to look forward to and there is so much comfort in knowing that success and happiness will come from aligning our will with the Lord’s.

So smile. You are loved. No matter how hard your situation is, there is always hope. Remember that Christ DOES know what you’re going through. It hurt Him too. So let Him help you.

Let Him heal you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

We've got to give a little love...

Tolerance. It makes all the difference.

It doesn’t matter what area – religious, social, political, favorite flavor of gummy bear, whatever – but just because I think it, doesn’t necessarily make it right. Even if I AM right, respecting the opinions of others is crucial (except in football. or if the person is closed-minded).

“Who am I to judge another When I walk imperfectly?” (Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 220) Who am I to say, “This person is worthy of my presence, but this person is someone I should avoid,” and feel justified in that decision? Christ associated with publicans and sinners, am I greater than He?

Of course not.

Few things frustrate me more than a person who refuses to see beyond their own mindset. Someone who passes judgment concerning the imperfections of others and deems them unworthy of association. “I’ve been told to avoid befriending unrighteous people because they’ll lead me into temptation.” What a pitiful excuse. If you’re going to avoid sin, good luck making friends. We all sin. That’s a fact. Who gets to decide which sins make a person “unworthy”? Not you. Not me. Also, if being around an imperfect person is going to make your testimony or strength waver, you obviously weren’t too strong in the first place. If you know who you are and what you stand for, the actions of others aren’t going to affect that. You don’t have to become like them. You don’t even have to like them. But you do have to show some Christ-like humility and realize that you are no better than they are.

I know I’m guilty of being judgmental at times. So I’m going to let my frustration with intolerance motivate me to be more accepting.

If Christ deems someone worthy of His time and love, that person is definitely worthy of ours.

And He loves everyone.