Monday, November 25, 2019

Meekness and Humility

RE Moroni 7:8
But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ, because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him, then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church. And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold, I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him, according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith, he must needs have hope; for without faith, there cannot be any hope. And again, behold, I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope save he shall be meek and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God save the meek and lowly of heart.
Moroni quoting his father Mormon teaches about faith hope and charity.  He judges that the people have faith not because of their enormous religious centers, temple attendance, how fine they dress on Sundays, or their religious institution's wealth, or even humanitarian work.  He judges that they have faith because of their meekness.

How is it he recognizes meekness in the people?  What were they doing or saying?  This seems like  an unexpected measuring stick.  Why isn't he measuring something more tangible?  Like membership numbers?  Or how many temples?  Or their fanciful spectacular spiritual experiences?  Or claims to have superior light? Clearly he has an outdated measuring stick right?  He uses something humble and non attention grabbing.  Why?  Is there something about Christ himself that doesn't wow the senses but asks us to recognize the humility and meekness of someone who has no pride and does not vaunt themselves nor carry pretense?

 What does meekness look like anyway?  If THAT is how he determines that the people have real faith in Christ then it seems like a worthwhile exercise to also use that looking glass to see what we can discover about our own faith, or lack of it.  If I look through that lens, I find nothing but reason to ask God for forgiveness and to be taught by Him.  What happens if you measure with the wrong tool?

Then Mormon says something that stopped my heart for a second.  He talks about how faith and hope can amount to vanity and are not even possible without meekness and humility.  Then comes this: ... For none is acceptable before God except the meek and humble of heart.  None.

It's semi shocking how many other things are portrayed in 2019 as being, or causing you to be acceptable to God.  But what if they really don't?  How great a lie would it be to erroneously teach about what is acceptable to God?  Meekness and Humility appear to dwarf 90% of what religion teaches is important and what occupies the religious manuals and discussions I see so often. Vanity and pride are suggested and taught will bring (or have already brought) God's approval.  It's downright disturbing.

What is lowliness of heart anyway?  Why do scriptures refer to the heart as being hard?  How can an internal organ that pumps blood be hard?  The heart in our culture as a symbol implies your emotion center.  But that's not how I believe the scriptures refer to the heart.  They refer to it as your understanding. So a hard heart is one that won't understand and won't open themselves up to understanding something differently than they have been taught.

There are a lot of different definitions of meekness and humility.  I recently worked on a two part podcast for many weeks on these two attributes.  I couldn't think of anything more important than what will bring God's acceptance.  And the scriptures tell us outright what that is.  And it stopped me in my tracks when I read it. 

I recommend this two part podcast on the subject.  What else really matters if these two are lacking?

Part 1:  Link.

Part 2:  Link.