Posts Tagged 'Anger'

1 Samuel Chapter 22

David fled from king Saul, who wanted to kill him. He had gone to a place called Nob and received help from the priest, Ahimelech. After that, David had fled to Gath, where he was recognized by the ruler’s servants. He decided to pretend to be mad, and the ruler of Gath decided he did not want him there. This chapter continued to tell the places that David went to while hiding from Saul. It begins:

1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.
2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

David left Gath and hid in a cave called Adullam. His family heard he was there, so they went down to him. People began to gather to him, because they were in debt or in distress. He became their captain. In all, he had gained about 400 men to follow him.

3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.
4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

He left Adullam and went to a place in Moab, called Mizpeh. He asked that his family be allowed to say with the king of Moab, until David could figure out what was going to happen to him. They remained with the king of Moab, while David hid in the hold.

5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

Gad, the prophet, told David that he should go to the land of Judah. David left and went to the forest of Hareth.

6 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)
7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Saul heard that David had been found, and that he had men who followed him. Saul was in Gibeah, prepared to fight, with all his servants around him. Saul asked his servants if they had made some kind of deal with David, because none of them had told him David and his son, Jonathan, had been in league with one another. He questioned their motives, I think, in hopes of getting more information out of them.

9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.
10 And he inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
15 Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.

The servant of Saul, Doeg, who had been in Nob when David was there, told Saul that he had seen him going to the priest, Ahimelech. Doeg told him that the priest had fed him, given him the sword of Goliath, and prayed for him. Ahimelech and his family were called to come to the king. He called for the priest, who answered. Saul asked him why he conspired against him with David by doing these things, so that David was prepared to fight against the king. Ahimelech answered by saying that David was a faithful servant of Saul, and his son-in-law, who had been allowed to go about doing as he pleased. He had no reason not to do as David asked. He only did what he thought was right. Saul told Ahimelech that he and all his family would die.

17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the Lord.
18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

Then Saul turned to his soldiers and commanded them to kill the priest and his family, because they had helped David and had not made Saul aware of where David was. The servants refused to kill them. Saul commanded Doeg to kill them, and he turned and killed 84 priests, who wore the garments of the holy priesthood. Then Saul had the city of Nob destroyed, including all the people and animals there.

20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.
21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the Lord’s priests.
22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.
23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

One son of Ahimelech was able to get away, and went looking for David. When he found him, he told him what Saul had done. David told him that he had thought Doeg would tell Saul, when he had seen him in Nob. He felt he had brought this death of Abiathar’s family upon him. He asked Abiathar to stay with him, because Saul was after both of them, and David would do what he could to keep him safe.

The priest had only done what he felt was expected of him, and I believe he and his family were in no way deserving of the death they received. Likewise, the destruction of a city of innocent people because they were associated with the priests, was evil. Saul had truly allowed an evil spirit to influence his feelings, stirring his heart to anger against David and anyone who had anything to do with him. Throughout the history of the world, Satan has had this kind of influence over the hearts of men, who turn away from good. It was nothing new then, and it continues even today. It doesn’t take much or even too long, for this kind of change to take place in people if they allow it. Studying this story of Saul, causes me to reflect on the choices I am making in my own life. A few weeks ago, a gospel teacher asked the class I was attending, if we could part with our favorite sin. It was an interesting question, and one I have thought about a bit since that time. Saul’s favorite sin seems to have been jealousy or anger. I wonder what thing I hang on to, my favorite sin, which I know God would not want me to do? Would I be willing to let it go for Him? If not, how far away am I from allowing Satan and his many followers to influence my heart and mind? I hope as I reflect more on these things, that I can have the courage to allow the Lord to change my heart through His influence, and give up my own favorite sin.

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1 Samuel Chapter 20

David was forced to run away from his home and his wife, because king Saul desired to kill him. His wife, the daughter of Saul, helped him to escape. Jonathan, the son of Saul, was a close friend to David. They loved one another as brothers, and were described earlier as having souls knit together. David had done nothing to deserve the treatment he had received from Saul, in fact, he had been a loyal and hard-working servant to the king. Saul hated David because he was jealous of they way others loved him and praised him. In his envy and jealousy, Saul had gone after David, to find him and kill him. David had found Samuel and was hiding among the prophets. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?
2 And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
6 If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beth-lehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
7 If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.
8 Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly?

Saul had gone to the place where David had hidden with the prophets. David fled and went to Jonathan to ask why his father was trying to kill him. Saul had made a promise to Jonathan before, that he would not kill David, so when Jonathan heard this from David, he did not believe it. He felt his father would not do such a thing, without his knowing. David told him, that Saul must have seen how much Jonathan cared for him, which is why he would have kept his desire from him. David promised him, that he was not mistaken, but that he knew his life was in danger. Jonathan told him, he would do anything David wanted. This was because he loved David. David knew that according to tradition, he should have dinner with the king the next day, but he asked Jonathan to allow him to hide for three days. If Saul missed him or mentioned him not being there, David asked Jonathan to tell Saul that David had asked to be excused in order to return to his home of Bethlehem to make a yearly sacrifice with his family. If Saul was accepting of this excuse, then David would know everything was fine, but if Saul got mad about it, Jonathan would know that David had been right about the desires of his father. David asked that Jonathan deal kindly with him, if this be the case, because they had made a covenant with one another. But, if Jonathan learned that David had misled him, he could kill David himself rather than take him to Saul. Jonathan said that if he knew his father’s plans were to kill him, he would tell David. David asked him how he would know if Jonathan learned of his father’s plans, or how he would know if Saul mistreated Jonathan.

11 And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
12 And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
13 The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not:
15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.
17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.
21 And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the Lord liveth.
22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away.
23 And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord be between thee and me for ever.

Jonathan took David to a field, and made a covenant with him. He would seek out the feelings and desires of his father. If things were good, and he didn’t let David know, the Lord could deal with him. If Saul desired to do evil against David, Jonathan would let him know and send him away in peace and a blessing that the Lord be with him. Jonathan asked that David covenant to show friendship and kindness towards him and his family forever, even when the Lord had cut off all of David’s enemies. They made a covenant with one another, because they loved each other so much. Jonathan would go along with the plan that David had laid out. When the three days had passed, without word from Jonathan, David was to hide himself by the stone Ezel. Jonathan would go there, and shoot three arrows on the side of the stone, as he pretended to shoot at a mark. He would send a young man to gather the arrows. If the young man was told that the arrows were beside the stone, David would know that things were alright and he could come out of hiding. If he told the young man that the arrows were beyond the stone, David would know to go away in peace. Either way, their covenant would be between them forever.

24 So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
25 And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty.
26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.
27 And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem:
29 And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.
30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?
31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

David hid in the field while king Saul had his meal. There was an empty place where his son-in-law, David, should have been seated. Assuming that David was not well enough to be there, Saul did not say anything on the first day. David’s seat was empty on the second day, and Saul asked Jonathan why David had not been there for two days. Jonathan told Saul the words that he and David had planned. Saul was angry with Jonathan, and spoke against him, for his support of David. Saul told Jonathan that he would never have the kingdom. He commanded him to bring David to him, to be killed. Jonathan asked what David had done to deserve being killed. In response, Saul attempted to hit Jonathan with his javelin. Jonathan knew that the words of David had been true, and he left without eating with the king. Jonathan grieved for David.

35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.
36 And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
37 And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?
38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
39 But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
40 And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.

Jonathan went to the field as they had planned, and shot the arrow beyond the stone, to show David that he was right and could leave in peace. Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the young man that was with him and told the boy to take it back to the city.

41 And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

After the boy had left, David came out of hiding. He honored Jonathan, kissed him, and cried with him. Jonathan told David to go, with a reminder of their covenant. David left him, and Jonathan returned to the city.

Jonathan had hoped that his father would not do evil against his cherished friend. After all, Saul had already made him a promise. But, Saul’s anger and jealousy had blinded him to anything else, and he did not care about anything that had happened in the past, other than praises going to David instead of to himself. All he desired at this point, was for David to be killed. I am sure that parting under these circumstances was incredibly sad for these friends. One of the things I learn from this chapter, is the good character found in Jonathan. It would have been easy for Jonathan to turn against David and give him up. If he had, he possibly could have secured greater power in the kingdom from his father. But, Jonathan was a trustworthy and loyal friend, who knew that the things his father wanted, were wrong. He did not care for greater power or the honors of the king. I am sure that he also recognized that God was with David and not with his father. He would have been choosing to follow after something other than what God wanted, if he had chosen to help his father. Jonathan did not weaken under the pressures of threat against his own personal safety. He loved David and was faithful to their covenant of friendship. It would be a huge blessing to anyone, to have a friend like Jonathan. Friends can have a great impact on the choices we make and the path we choose to follow. Our lives may not be threatened as David’s was, but we all our fighting our way through this life each and every day. True loyalty and love are very important in our relationships with others. Any person could know that a friend like Jonathan, would never seek their own interests without loving and supporting them first. I know this kind of friendship and it has been an amazing blessing in my life. I hope that I am now, or that I can become, a truly loyal and loving friend in my own relationships.

Notes on Patience – Soft Answers

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone. (Proverbs 25:15)

  • A mark of a patient person, is one who can give a “soft answer” rather than “grievous words”. I want to be able to communicate with others without getting them worked up. Once you put someone on the defensive, the conversation has stopped being effective in any other way then to make them offended. I think this goes along with thinking before I say anything too quickly. I don’t think a soft answer means strictly soft in volume, but it does mean soft in effect on another. A soft answer is communication without hidden agendas, or sarcasm. A soft answer is genuine, caring and kind and so much more powerful than any other way of speaking.
  • Notes on Patience – No Room for the Contrary

    Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

    22 And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.
    23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. (Alma 7:22-23)

    6 Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.
    7 Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work;
    8 And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care. (D&C 12:6-8)

  • My duty to God, if I want to be worthy, is more than to have patience in some things. My duty is to be full of patience. There should not be any room left in me for those things that are contrary to patience, such as anger, a negative attitude, judging others, and so on. I need to have patience so much, that it will be the first reaction I have to any situation, rather than being quick to respond in a bad way and then thinking of what I could have done differently afterwards. I cannot do the work of the Lord, unless I am working to be a patient person.
  • Genesis Chapter 34

    In the last part of the book of Genesis, Jacob returned to the land of his family in Canaan. Jacob is living righteously and has been favored of God and blessed greatly for his faith. The story of his family continues as follows:

    1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
    2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
    3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
    4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
    5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

    Jacob’s daughter Dinah was out in the land when a man named Shechem saw her and took advantage of her. He decided he wanted to marry her. Jacob learned what had happened and waited to say anything to his family until his sons had returned from working in the field.

    6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
    7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
    8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.
    9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
    10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
    11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
    12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.
    13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
    14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us:
    15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
    16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
    17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
    18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
    19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.

    Shechem’s father, Hamor, went to talk to Jacob about his son marrying her. Her brothers were angry at what had happened to their sister, but Hamor said that his son wanted to marry Dinah. Then he went even further to request that the sons of Jacob marry his daughters, and unite their families. He offered what ever they desired of his, as a gift for allowing Dinah to marry his son. The sons of Jacob (the footnote, says Simeon and Levi, who were also the children of Leah) said that they could not allow this because the family of Hamar was uncircumcised, but that if the men in their family would be circumcised they would allow it. Hamor and his son Shechem were happy with this arrangement. In order to get what he desired, Shechem was prepared to be circumcised. They did not know, however, that the sons of Jacob were being deceitful and did not really plan on going through with the arrangement.

    20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
    21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
    22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
    23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
    24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

    Hamor and Shechem arranged for the brothers to be allowed into the city and the land around it, because they planned to be joined families through marriage. They convinced the men of their city to be circumcised so that they would all benefit from the arrangement. Then all the men there were circumcised.

    25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
    26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
    27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
    28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
    29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
    30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
    31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

    Simeon and Levi went to the city while the men were recovering from their circumcisions, and killed them, including Hamor and Shechem. They also took Dinah back to their home. Then the rest of the sons ransacked the city to get revenge for what they had done to Dinah. They took everything there of value, including the wives and children. Jacob, knowing what they had done, told them that they had brought trouble upon him. Now, he felt that others would join together against them for what they had done to the people of that city, and possibly destroy his family. Their response was that they had done this because Shechem should not have been able to treat their sister as he had.

    This is an example of what the desire for revenge can become. They were angry for the wrong that was done against their sister, and in that anger they killed many. Revenge is not a righteous motive for fighting against another. Jacob, who was a righteous man, knew that nothing good could come of their making this wicked decision out of anger. I am sure that the Lord was not pleased with their choices and I imagine that I will read about what bad may come of it later in the Bible. What we should learn from this, is that those who wish to do the will of the Lord, will find a way to have forgiveness for the wrongs others do to them, no matter how awful they may be. If we instead, follow our natural desire for revenge and anger, we will be hurting ourselves far more then those we are angry with.

    Notes on Patience – Mastery Over Self

    Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

    He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

    A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. (Proverbs 15:18)

    Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalms 37:8)

  • If I can have self-control, and show patience rather than getting worked up, I will be better suited to stop the contention in my home. Otherwise, I will look back on my actions and regret them. I have recognized easily those times when someone else in my family is angry and how quickly it negatively affects others around them, including myself. This mastery over self, needs to be something that I start now. The scriptures say to cease and forsake things like anger and wrath. That doesn’t mean that I can procrastinate in it, or even give myself an allowance of these things today. It means that I need to try my best to completely abandon these natural impulses.
  • Are We People of Charity?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity . . .

    The next question in this series is are we people of charity? I’ve thought a lot about charity lately since studying for and writing my talk on the love of Christ a few weeks ago. I wonder often if I am doing enough to really be considered a woman of charity. Charity is the love of Christ. In Moroni 7:47 we read, “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” It is something that every disciple and follower of Christ should desire to have in them.

    The Bible Dictionary says that Charity is “The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection”. I know that there are certain people who I have this love towards, for example my family. I want to give them all that I can and serve them to bring them happiness. It is usually the easiest, and occasionally the hardest thing, to have charity for those in our own household. I think that part of the reason why God has designed the family as the center of the gospel is that we can best learn how to have charity in the home. A person of charity is someone who has a continual desire to love, help, motivate, uplift, encourage and teach their family.

    To have charity is to desire for others to be the best they can be. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 we read, “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” If we have charity, we want to edify others. I had an eye-opening experience once when I served as a leader for the women at church. I was struggling with the idea of loving those I serve, because I didn’t feel like I had achieved the kind of love I should have had after over three years of serving them. A young man spoke in sacrament meeting about how he realized he had come to love those he served while on his mission. He said he knew he loved them when he realized how much he cared for them. As I sat in a lesson with the women later that same day, I realized that I had a deep desire for every one of those women to be edified in their lives. I wanted them to be the best they could be, or rather I had a glimpse of who God saw they could be. That was a moment of charity for me, a moment that I realized a portion of what the love of Christ was.

    We read about charity in 1 Corinthians 13 as well, where it says the following:

    4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
    5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
    6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
    7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
    8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    To be a person of charity, we need to have a long-suffering love for others. It means to be patient in our relationships with others. To love through affliction, trials, and other hardships is to have charity. It is to be the kind of person who will stick around for someone even when times get difficult. It means that when moments arise where offense could be taken, we have a Christlike attitude of forgiveness and understanding and we continue to love them. Sometimes others will want to shut us out, but rather than cut ties and move on, the charitable person remains available in the hopes that someday they will want to return. For me, being long-suffering towards others is a small things compared to how often our Father in Heaven is long-suffering towards us. How many times do we go without saying our prayers or worshipping God and yet we still have moments where we recognize his love and open arms towards us when we choose to accept him.

    A charitable person is kind to everyone, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how they behave towards us. To be kind we must be willing to follow the golden rule. In Matthew 7:12 we read, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” I don’t think that anyone truly wants to be treated unkindly by anyone and if we live as a person of charity, we will not treat anyone in a way that we would not want to be treated.

    We should be more than willing to celebrate the successes of others, because a person of charity does not envy others. In Proverbs 14:30 we read, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” I am pretty sure that love and envy cannot coexist. In contrast, a charitable person is grateful for the things that they have and grateful that others have been blessed as well.

    Pride is not a characteristic of someone who is charitable. We cannot “vaunteth” or brag and boast about ourselves and hope to have the mind to think of others. I went to a lesson one time where the teacher used a visual to teach us this. She walked around to others with a mirror in front of herself, trying to uplift others when all she could see was herself. Then she did it again, but with a window pane, to represent looking outside of ourselves to serve others. A person of charity, will forget about themselves to help others. A person of charity is more concerned with building others up, not with putting themselves above others. In Matthew 23:12 we read, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” A person of charity is humble and grateful to God for everything.

    A person of charity is modest in their behavior. If we claim to take upon ourselves the name of Christ when we are baptized and make covenants with the Lord, then we need to behave as Christ would. We show our love of the Savior, by honoring his name in our thoughts, words and actions. John 5:23 reads, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” We honor God, when we honor the Savior with our charitable behavior.

    We cannot be a people of charity if we are selfish. If we choose to keep to ourselves, all the wonderful things that we have been blessed with, we cannot be called charitable. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus taught, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” A person of charity shares the good news of the gospel through their testimony of things they know to be true. A person of charity shares the talents they have been given, by using them to uplift and help others. A person of charity willingly gives what they can spare to help those in need.

    Patience is a virtue of a charitable person. To be “not easily provoked”, is to be a person who thinks before responding in any unkind way. A charitable person recognizes that as different people, with different beliefs and circumstances, we may have differences of opinions. A person of charity can see that everyone has agency and that the things others may do or say will not be able to destroy anything that really matters in the bigger picture. A person of charity is able to control their own thoughts and actions, and can choose to forgive the offenses of others. In James 1 we read the following:

    19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
    20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    We cannot do the work of the Lord or be an instrument in His hands, if we are easily provoked or quick to anger. We cannot show the love of Christ to others when we are not in control of our judgement and anger.

    A person of charity is focused on that which is good. To think evil, is to invite Satan into our hearts and minds. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” A charitable person does the work of the Lord and brings his light and love to others. If we cannot serve both the Lord and his enemy, we cannot think evil and serve the Lord. A person of charity will do their best not to be in situations where evil thoughts would enter their mind. They would strive to read good books, listen to good music, and involve themselves in other good activities. When we are continually looking for the good in the world or in people, we will be able to find it and evil thoughts will not fill our minds.

    The attributes of a person of charity could go on. There are so many things that we should be striving towards, if we hope to posses the pure love of Christ. I am so glad that we have this life to work on this every day. I am even more grateful for the atonement, because I am very aware of my own faults and my human nature, which gives me the need to repent often for my mistakes. I know that being a charitable person is what will bring us closer to Christ, and that it is not something that we become overnight. I hope that throughout my life, I will continue to strive to be the woman of charity, that God would have me be.

    D&C Section 61

    Historical Background

    The trip back to Kirtland, Ohio had become dangerous for the prophet, Joseph Smith, and ten elders who were with him. They had decided to return by way of the Missouri River. Elder William W. Phelps had a vision of “the destroyer riding in power upon the face of the waters”. The prophet prayed and this revelation was given in response.

    The Brethren Were to Bear Record

    “BEHOLD, and hearken unto the voice of him who has all power, who is from everlasting to everlasting, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (v. 1). Behold, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, O ye elders of my church, who are assembled upon this spot, whose sins are now forgiven you, for I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts (v. 2); But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief (v. 3). Nevertheless, I suffered it that ye might bear record; behold, there are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter; (v. 4)”. . . Nevertheless, all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish by the waters (v. 6). . . . I, the Lord, have decreed, and the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof, and I revoke not the decree (v. 19).”

    The Lord reminded these elders that they were commanded to preach the gospel as they took the return trip to Kirtland. This was something they could not do while they were on canoes, going down the river. He also told them that he had allowed them to witness Satan’s powers on the waters, but that those who were faithful would not die even though Satan had power. He taught them that God is more powerful and can protect us from Satan’s power.

    How Is the Water “Cursed”?

    “For I, the Lord, have decreed in mine anger many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters (v. 5).” In these latter days, the Lord has placed a curse on the waters. But the faithful will not perish (see v. 6 above). The Lord told Elder Sidney Gilbert and Elder Phelps to go quickly, but first he wanted to chasten them, so that they could repent and would not perish in their sins (v. 7-8). “But now, verily I say, it behooveth me that ye should part. Wherefore let my servants Sidney Gilbert and William W. Phelps take their former company, and let them take their journey in haste that they may fill their mission, and through faith they shall overcome (v. 9); And inasmuch as they are faithful they shall be preserved, and I, the Lord, will be with them (v. 10).” The Lord instructed the rest of the elders what they should take along with them as they traveled, and told them to give everything else to Elder Gilbert to take with him (see v. 11-12).

    “And now, behold, for your good I gave unto you a commandment concerning these things; and I, the Lord, will reason with you as with men in days of old (v. 13).” The Lord will explain why the waters are cursed. There are many things that God does not explain to His children and we must follow without understanding why. Sometimes, however, He will take time to explain the reason for something, so that we understand and learn from it.

    “Behold, I, the Lord, in the beginning blessed the waters; but in the last days, by the mouth of my servant John, I cursed the waters (v. 14). Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters (v. 15). And it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land of Zion upon the waters, but he that is upright in heart (v. 16). And, as I, the Lord, in the beginning cursed the land, even so in the last days have I blessed it, in its time, for the use of my saints, that they may partake the fatness thereof (v. 17). And now I give unto you a commandment that what I say unto one I say unto all, that you shall forewarn your brethren concerning these waters, that they come not in journeying upon them, lest their faith fail and they are caught in snares (v. 18 ); I, the Lord, have decreed, and the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof, and I revoke not the decree (v. 19).”

    When the world was new, the Lord blessed the waters and the lands were cursed. It does not surprise me that great destructions were given on the land, such as the famine which spread in the days of Joseph. I also find it interesting that the land of Egypt was plagued and then a great miracle with the waters saved the Israelites from pharaoh and his army. The Lord, has since, taken the cursing from the land. This would explain why the world has been so industrious and prosperous on the land in such a short amount of time compared to the history of the world that we know of. Now the cursing has been placed on the waters. There have been many times recently, where water has destroyed the land and many people have been made to suffer. This revelation teaches us that it will become so bad that the Lord will tell His people not to use the waters to travel, because of that cursing. He commands that these elders not to travel on the waters, in case they would not have the faith and would die.

    What Was the “Errand and Mission” of Sidney Gilbert and William W. Phelps?

    “Wherefore, it is expedient that my servant Sidney Gilbert and my servant William W. Phelps be in haste upon their errand and mission (v. 7).” Elder Gilbert and Elder Phelps were to go quickly, because they had been given the mission of taking a printing press to Missouri. Elder Gilbert had been called to be the one who would purchase the press. We read in D&C 57:6, “And let my servant Sidney Gilbert stand in the office to which I have appointed him, to receive moneys, to be an agent unto the church . . .”. Elder Phelps had been called to be a publisher for the church. In D&C 55:4 we read, “And again, [my servant William] shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting and writing books for schools in this church, that little children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me.” Also in D&C 57:11 we read, “And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William W. Phelps be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the church.”

    “I, the Lord, Was Angry with You Yesterday”

    “I, the Lord, was angry with you yesterday, but today mine anger is turned away (v. 20).” For anyone who follows my blog regularly, this is an example of the righteous anger from the Lord, which is due to disobedience to a commandment (see previous post on Anger).

    “Wherefore, let those concerning whom I have spoken, that should take their journey in haste—again I say unto you, let them take their journey in haste (v. 21). And it mattereth not unto me, after a little, if it so be that they fill their mission, whether they go by water or by land; let this be as it is made known unto them according to their judgments hereafter (v. 22).” The Lord does not hold grudges the way people do. He was angry with all these men for choosing not to share the gospel on the return trip, but now he is ready to tell them what they should do from here on. As for Elder Gilbert and Elder Phelps, there being told that now they are commanded to go quickly and if they choose to go by water or land, the Lord will not hold it against them as long as they go quickly.

    “And now, concerning my servants, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, let them come not again upon the waters, save it be upon the canal, while journeying unto their homes; or in other words they shall not come upon the waters to journey, save upon the canal (v. 23). Behold, I, the Lord, have appointed a way for the journeying of my saints; and behold, this is the way—that after they leave the canal they shall journey by land, inasmuch as they are commanded to journey and go up unto the land of Zion (v. 24); And they shall do like unto the children of Israel, pitching their tents by the way (v. 25). And, behold, this commandment you shall give unto all your brethren (v. 26). Nevertheless, unto whom is given power to command the waters, unto him it is given by the Spirit to know all his ways (v. 27); Wherefore, let him do as the Spirit of the living God commandeth him, whether upon the land or upon the waters, as it remaineth with me to do hereafter (v. 28 ). And unto you is given the course for the saints, or the way for the saints of the camp of the Lord, to journey (v. 29).” The Lord told them to follow the spirit and it would guide them on how they should travel. The manual I am studying explains that they did and some traveled by water and some on land. The prophet, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery all traveled by land as they were commanded.

    We have been given commandments from the Lord ever since the beginning of man on this earth. We should do our best to follow these specific commandments. There are times, however, that the spirit will command us to do something else. Because of personal revelation, we can follow the spirit in faith without fear of the judgement for that thing. For example, one commandment is not to kill. But Nephi, knowing this commandment, was led by the spirit to kill Laban in order to get the plates from him. Nephi was not going to be judged for following the spirit. The elders in this section, were now given a commandment not to travel on the waters, but if the spirit was to guide them to do it, they would not be judged for it.

    Why Were the Prophet and His Companions Told to Warn the Wicked at Cincinnati?

    “And again, verily I say unto you, my servants, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, shall not open their mouths in the congregations of the wicked until they arrive at Cincinnati (v. 30); And in that place they shall lift up their voices unto God against that people, yea, unto him whose anger is kindled against their wickedness, a people who are well-nigh ripened for destruction (v. 31). And from thence let them journey for the congregations of their brethren, for their labors even now are wanted more abundantly among them than among the congregations of the wicked (v. 32).” The people of Cincinnati were so wicked that they were “well-nigh ripened for destruction”. Through out the scriptures we are told of the prophets being told to preach to the wicked who are near destruction. The Lord has said that he will give His children ever opportunity to repent for their sins that He can before they are destroyed for their wickedness. If there is a chance to save a soul, then the Lord wants that person saved from eternal damnation. If however, that chance to repent is there and we choose not to take it, the judgement must come because God is just in all things.

    The rest of the elders were told to go preach in companionships to the wicked, and they would be forgiven for their sins as they fulfilled this commandment (v. 33-35).

    “He Cometh In an Hour You Think Not”

    “And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you (v. 36); And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours (v. 37). Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not (v. 38 ). Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death. Even so. Amen (v. 39).”

    There is no scripture or revelation that is given to man, that tells when the Savior will come again. It is our responsibility to make our lives patterns of righteousness, so that when we are least expecting His coming, we will not be living wickedly. If we work hard to become a people who live each day the best we can, then we will not fall into the temptations that will destroy us at His coming. Habits are habits whether they are good or bad. When we develop habits of righteousness, we will not need to fear that He could come at any time. I find that when I am truly trying the best that I can, I am excited and looking forward to the second coming. I hope that more people will look toward the second coming with excitement and not fear of the judgement for their sins.

    Taking a Look at Anger

    I’ve heard quite a bit lately about anger management, and how anger is a very common thing. I am not a perfect person, and I do get angry at times, so I felt this was as good a time as any to study this topic.

    What is Anger?

    Anger is defined as a strong emotion that is directed at a grievance of some type. It may be a result of a frustration or feeling powerless in a situation caused by either internal or external forces. If bad enough, anger can get to a point where you can feel like this emotion controls you and is completely unpredictable. Anger is an emotion which existed in the pre-existence and was displayed by Satan himself. In Abraham 3:27-28 we read, ” And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first (v. 27). And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate . . . (v. 28)”. Anger led Satan to being cast out of God’s presence and losing the opportunity to gain a body.

    Is Anger a Good Emotion?

    Being frustrated or perhaps unsatisfied with a situation is okay and even sometimes it is necessary for change and progress to occur. If, however, this frustration or dissatisfaction leads to anger, it is not good. Anger is not a Christ-like attribute. In Psalms 145:8 we read, “The Lord is . . . slow to anger, and of great mercy.” It does not say the Lord is without anger, because there are things that justify righteous anger, especially from the Lord. The Savior taught that “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5:22). He also taught the Nephites that anger from contention is not okay. In 3 Nephi 11 we read, “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another (v. 29). Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (v. 30).” Anything that is of the devil, is not good for men. Anger will bring destruction to the soul.

    A Display of Temper

    On the lds.org Guide to the Scriptures it describes anger as “the display of temper”. When I think of this phrase, I think of temper tantrums. When our Father in Heaven looks at His children who are angry, I imagine we look like three-year-olds having tantrums over not getting our way. When my daughter has a tantrum, I am quick to send her to time out to calm down. I cannot communicate with her when a tantrum has started. Once she is calm she is able to listen and deal with the situation better. Likewise, when our temper tantrum has started, the spirit cannot talk to us. When we are calm, we too are able to listen and handle things better.

    What do the Scriptures Teach About Avoiding Anger?

    Because I believe that the answers to all of our problems, specifically those that are of a sinful nature, can be answered by the scriptures, I look to them to be taught. David taught, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath . . .” (Psalms 37:8). We must stop turning to anger as a response to situations. Forsaking it as we would forsake a sin, means to avoid it at all costs or to turn away from it forever. How do we do this when it is such a strong and controlling emotion?

    Ecclesiastes 7:9 reads, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Haste in our responses can be a cause for anger. Anger is explained here as a foolish person’s response, not a response of one who is wise. We need to teach or train ourselves to think wisely before we react. I think this may be easier said then done at times, but if we know there is a situation that may cause us to become angry, we can prepare ourselves by deciding before-hand how we might deal with it. For example, if I know that my child’s messy room angers me, then I need to stop before I might see it and think of how I can deal with it without being angry. For some, this means closing the door before seeing the mess. For others, all it may take is the act of stopping and deciding what might be said and how to say it. Thinking and making a decision on how we can avoid anger in that situation, can help us to avoid the wrong reaction.

    Avoiding the situations that anger us, seems to be an obvious answer to me, but at times this may not be possible. One thing we can do when we must put ourselves in a situation where we may become angry, is to commit to speak softly. In Proverbs 15:1 we read, “A soft answer turneth away wrath . . .”. I think you can look at this verse two ways. First, how we speak to others can keep them from becoming angry with us. Second, when we commit to using “soft answers” in response to others, we can keep the fire of anger from being kindled within ourselves. We can use the level and tone of our speech to control ourselves.

    Because anger comes often as a response to a perceived offense against us, we need to do our best not to be easily offended. This takes patience and understanding. We learn from 1 Corinthians 13, that charity is long-suffering and “not easily provoked” (v. 14-15). So the key to not being offended or provoked easily, is to have charity. Verse 4 of the same chapter explains that charity is kindness. To avoid anger, we need to become someone who is kinder. To be kind is to be considerate and to think more often of the feelings of others. Thinking of others and their situations, can help us to see that most people do not mean to intentionally hurt us.

    We also learn from verse 4, that charity is not puffed up. Charity does not exist where there is pride and selfishness. I think that a great contributor to anger, is selfishness. We become angry when all we can see is what we want, how we are hurt, what we don’t have, and so on. So not only do we need to think of the feelings of others, but we need to do it more often then we think of ourselves. I think again of my child’s temper tantrums and how they are almost certainly because of selfishness. When we look instead, at how others feel, we begin to feel more compassion for them and put aside our own feelings. Becoming less selfish is an important part of avoiding anger.

    When I think of charity, I most often think of service. We can avoid anger simply by serving others. Service forces us to stop thinking about how bad our own situations are. Service teaches us to be more kind and gentle to others. Most of all service teaches us to love others. It is so hard to become angry when you feel love. Charity, or in my own mind service, is the pure love of Christ. We know from the scriptures that Christ’s mission was one of service. If we approach the things of life, with a focus on how we can serve those we are in contact with, we can avoid anger.

    I know that I do not want to be an angry person. I know that anger is selfish, unkind, and foolish. I know that if I follow the example of Christ, I will become full of charity, compassion, wisdom, kindness, and love. With these attributes I can be more soft-spoken, and keep control of my emotions. I know that I can follow His example by serving others as much as possible. I know that by doing this, I can enjoy blessings of peace and happiness in my life.

    3 Nephi, Chapter 12 (Part 2)

    (Compare to Matthew, Chapter 5)

    How was the law of Moses fulfilled in Christ?

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil (v. 17, see also Matthew 5:17);  For verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law, but in me it hath all been fulfilled (v. 18, see also Matthew 5:18 ).  And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled (v. 19).”

    The Savior told the Nephites that he had fulfilled the law of Moses.  In Alma 34 we read, “Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away (v. 13).  And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal (v. 14).  And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance (v. 15).  And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption (v. 16).”  Christ fulfilled the law when he paid for our sins and paid the ultimate price of his life for us.

    “Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (v. 20).”  Now the Savior gives the Nephites His law, which is the higher law in comparison to the law of Moses.

    “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God (v. 21, see also Matthew 5:21);”  This is part of the law of Moses.  “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (v. 22, see also Matthew 5:22).  Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee (v. 23, see also Matthew 5:23)—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you (v. 24, see also Matthew 5:24).”  Obviously, we should not kill others.  But Christ is teaching us that we cannot allow ourselves to be angry with others, but we need to forgive them and not allow anger to take hold of our hearts, so that we may focus our intentions on the Lord.

    “Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery (v. 27, see also Matthew 5:27);”  This is how it was written in the law of Moses.  “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart (v. 28, see also Matthew 5:28 ).  Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart (v. 29); For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell (v. 30, see also Matthew 29-30).”  The Savior is teaching us that our thoughts must be controlled.  We must avoid the thoughts of lust, or we are already sinning.

    “It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (v. 31, see also Matthew 5:31).”  The Savior adds, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery (v. 32, see also Matthew 5:32).”  If we do not intend to keep our covenants of marriage, because we want to ‘play the field’, then we are the cause of sinning in our lives as well as those lives we use to do this.  Divorce is not to be used as a way for us to make light of the covenants we make to God in this way.

    “And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths (v. 33, see also Matthew 5:33);”  The Lord adds, “But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne (v. 34, see also Matthew 5:34); Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool (v. 35, see also Matthew 35); Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white (v. 36, see also Matthew 36); But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil (v. 37, see also Matthew 5:37).”  The Savior teaches us that when we swear by anything, outside of the oaths and covenants we make to the Lord, we are sinning.  We do not have control over such things, and to use words of swearing on or by something makes our commitments a lie and therefore something of the devil (he is the father of all lies).  We should not swear oaths on anything, but should keep our oaths simple with a yes or no.

    “And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth (v. 38, see also Matthew 5:38 );”  This is part of the law of Moses that I hear very often.  The Savior teaches, “But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (v. 39, see also Matthew 5:39); And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also (v. 40, see also Matthew 5:40); And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (v. 41, see also Matthew 5:41).  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away (v. 42, see also Matthew 5:42).”  The Law of Christ is not about being fair.  It is about giving all that we can and more in service to others.  If others seek us out to hurt us, we must not respond with revenge, but realize that they will have our reward and we have been commanded to be the better person.  Also, if others come to us in need, it is nice to do what is asked of us, but better to do it and more.

    “And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy (v. 43, see also Matthew 5:43);”  Another part to the law of Moses, however, the Savior adds, “But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you (v. 44, see also Matthew 5:44); That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good (v. 45, see also Matthew 5:45).”  The Savior teaches us to love everyone.  We need to make an even greater attempt, and love those who may do hurtful things to us.  God is not a respecter of persons.  We all have faults and He loves every one of us.  It is His job to forgive whom he will forgive, and we have been commanded to forgive everyone and therefore love everyone, no matter what.

    “Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled (v. 46).  Old things are done away, and all things have become new (v. 47).”  Every thing about the gospel is done in steps to becoming better and more like Christ.  The law of Moses was given to man to prepare us for the law of Christ.  Then once Christ paid for our sins and was crucified, he fulfilled the law of Moses and the law of Christ became the new and higher law.  The law of Moses had a lot to do with the outward evidences of our faith and beliefs.  On the other hand, the law of Christ is centered on changes within us to becoming more like the Savior.

    What does it mean to be perfect?

    There is a potential in all living things.  “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect (v. 48, see also Matthew 5:48).”  Perfection is to be without any flaws, sins, mistakes, and so on.  The footnote for this word says it means complete, finished, or fully developed.  God is perfect.  He is also our spiritual father, or the father of our spirits.  As his children in the spirit, we have the potential to become like him, which means that we have the ability to become perfect as well.  We can become perfect through the atonement of the Savior.  He wants us to be perfect, just as He is, and just as His Father is.  The Savior has already fulfilled his part in our perfection.  All that is left, is for us to use the atonement in our lives through the process of true repentance.

    I had a glimpse into what being truly perfect may feel like some day.  Just last month, my family went to Tithing Settlement with our bishop and he said such a wonderful thing that has stuck in my heart and mind since.  He was explaining tithing to my young daughter, and he told her that by declaring a full tithe, my husband and I were perfect in that one commandment of the gospel.  It was awesome to realize that I am doing all that is expected of me to be perfect or complete in that principal.  Now it is just a matter of continuing to be perfect in it.  The joy that I felt in this realization, is only a small sliver of the great joy I have the potential to feel as I become complete and perfect just as God is.

    In Moroni 10:32-33 we read, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God (v. 32).  And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot (v. 33).”  We have the potential, if we are willing to try our very best in this life.  If we try to love and serve the Lord, with everything that is in us (all our might, mind and strength), then the Savior will make up any difference that is left, through His atonement.


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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