Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hope and Possibility

Last Sunday, a sister in our ward spoke about avoiding sin. (Her topic was taken from Elder Mazzagardi's conference talk, "Avoiding the Trap of Sin." Many of our ward's Sacrament Meeting talks are based on recent conference talks - a good way to keep us in tune with recent counsel from our leaders.)

She spoke of the things that seem of little importance, and yet can have serious consequences for us. She identified 3 categories of "little things:"
1. Things we don't do, but should do
2. Things we do, but should not do
3. Small things we ought to quickly repent of
I thought of the many many "things I don't do," and made a mental note of one that I could start doing. Surely one wouldn't be such an overwhelming challenge!

Then, at the temple last week, while waiting for our session, I was reading chapter 9 of 3 Nephi. Nephi describes, in great detail, the destruction that occurred at the time of Christ's crucifixion: Zarahemla was destroyed by fire; Moroni sank in the depths of the sea; Moronihah was buried; Gilgal sank into the earth; Onihah and Mocum were buried in water; Gadiandi and Gadiomnah and Jacob and Gimgimno were buried under hills and valleys; Jacobugath and Laman and Josh and Gad and Kishkumen were destroyed by fire.

I felt overwhelmed by this long list of cities and peoples that were destroyed, because of their wickedness.

And then I read verse 13:
O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? 
It was a light-bulb moment, and a comfort, to me. I'd always thought of this experience as dividing the people into two groups: one group of "really righteous" people, and another group of everyone else.  I don't think of myself as "really righteous" - after all, look at all the things I "don't do, but should" - so where would I be in this story?

But as I read this verse, I realized that my perspective was totally skewed. The groups in this story are the group of "really wicked" people, who were destroyed, and another group of everyone else: the "more righteous" who were not destroyed, but who still need to repent, and to turn to Christ.

It really was a relief to realize that I do belong to this group of "more righteous," and to recognize Christ's invitation to "return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you."

I can start wherever I am today. I can start with just one of the "things I don't do," and move forward from there.

That's entirely in the realm of hope and possibility.

1 comment:

  1. "I can start wherever I am today." Words to live by. :-)

    (Cool post.)