Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Higher ways


A few thoughts I had today.

In the Law of Moses the accepted way was "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" (3 Nephi 12:38). Christ came and took it beyond that, saying that we should turn the other cheek, and that even being angry with a brother is dangerous (3 Nephi 12:22). Turns the matter from outward to more of things inward, things of the heart. From a law written on stone, to a law written in our hearts. But it doesn't end there. Living God's revealed laws leads somewhere. This dawned on me while attending the Temple today. We go upward as we choose to.

Sometimes I wonder how I miss things when they've been there all along. The requirements, the ordinances, the directions are right in front of our noses, awaiting each of us to live them when we are ready. The scriptures are full of directions as is the temple ceremony. And Christ has assured us His grace is sufficient if we cooperate with Him (Ether 12:27) (2 Corinthians 12:9). What Good news.

One principle that is so very simple that stood out is how unkind feelings can restrain the Spirit of the Lord (D&C 63:32) (D&C 121:37). We all have experienced unkind feelings. The Gospel invites us when we are ready to forgive the person or persons involved. And to speak goodness or truth instead of evil. To let go of the unkind feelings and be free of them. Forgive, reconcile, speak to them, or whatever the case may be, we can find charity again. Letting go of unkind feelings so the Spirit of God can be unrestrained in our lives, in our prayers, and in our worship. How simple. How liberating. Something everyone can do pretty much any day of their choosing. In essence it goes right back to one of the two great commandments, to love our neighbor. When confronting what seems impossible we can turn to the Lord who found the charity to forgive all (Luke 23:34). The master teacher can surly teach a willing student. I don't think He is limited by the imperfection of the follower.

I've heard it before but am seeing for my self that it really is all right there, awaiting us to choose when we are ready. The directions are all there and they lead heavenward. Sometimes a lot of focus on striving almost makes me loose focus. The ordinances of the Gospel seem to point to the idea that with God's help we can actually succeed in this journey.  Seeing the temple ordinances and ceremonies as God's word to us personally, allows our mind to go further.  Thus the ordinances build faith, because they can be viewed as God's word to us.  Step by step, the directions are there.  We also each get to choose our own speed.   

"Beautifully simple, and simply beautiful". -Russell M. Nelson, "Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple", Ensign, Oct. 2010, 40–51.

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