recently i've had the opportunity to grow a little bit and practice trying to strengthen my weaknesses.
one of my biggest trials in life is forgiving people. if you don't think so-- refer to THIS post. i've been working on being "quick to forgive" for a really long time. over time I've become better at being quick to forgive those I already know, love, and care for. but when it comes to forgiving people i don't know.... well, i'm not so good at that.
quick tangent that actually has something to do with this: in my health class, we have been talking about healthy relationships-- how to maintain them and how to strengthen them. one day my teacher talked to us about the ESSENTIAL TOOLS of an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP. The tools he gave us were:
• sense of humor
• shared goals & objectives
• fast brain & SLOW mouth [or even slow fingers now days]
as we went through these things individually, something we talked about during the forgiveness portion really resonated with me. my teacher talked about how when we say that we forgive someone, we need to mean that we won't store it away and bring it up when we are hurt or angry for different reasons. as soon as he said this, i was reminded of a story from The Book of Mormon.
this story is in the book of Alma about a group of people called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (kind of a mouthful, but that's the name they chose...) these people learned about Christ and became truly converted to the Gospel. when they did so, they made a covenant (or promise) with God that they would not fight or go to war anymore. BUT they didn't exactly trust themselves to keep their own promise so they took their commitment a step further. they BURIED their weapons "deep in the earth." [Alma 24:17]
|image from lds.org|
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies Burying Their Swords; Del Parson
now, back to me and maybe you. when i say that i "forgive" someone. i bury my "weapons" too. until i need that sucker again. then i'm gonna dig that thing right out of its little grave and use it at a most opportune time.
at least i used to.
as i was reading the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies again (for this blog post), i learned and was reminded of SO many more things that happened in the story. i'll share just a few and then invite you to read it for yourself and let you learn the things that YOU need to learn.
"there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their bretheren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war;" (alma 24: 6) THEY WOULDN'T EVEN MAKE PREPARATIONS FOR WAR. they didn't tuck their weapons juuuust deep enough in the ground to be able to take them out again. they didn't hide away a few weapons for future use because they were being attacked or hurt. they wouldn't even make preparations for war.
"... let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins." (alma 24:13) these guys had a true understanding of REAL REPENTANCE. gaul, i want to be like them.
"if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them.... And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man's blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives..." (alma 24: 16 & 18)
fast forward a little bit in the story. they start being attacked by a group of meanies named the Lamanites. and then guess what happens. THEY GIVE UP THEIR OWN LIVES. they don't go unbury their weapons. they don't make new weapons. they. give. up. their. own. lives. simply to keep their covenant with God.
now, that my friends, is commitment to your covenants.
after this little experience i had, i was able to learn again a small portion of the importance of true forgiveness. our goal in this life/eternity is to ultimately become like God-- to develop His attributes. one of His very best attributes (if you ask me) is His ability to forgive and forget. remember doctrine & covenants 58:42 "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." God buries that weapon of war after someone repents. and if God does that-- we probably should too.
end note: a lack of forgiveness is not the only weapon of war that we have now days. i want to invite you to ponder on your life and think about your personal weapons. which one do you need to bury at this time?