Monday, September 28, 2015

Alma 17

(September 27, 2015)
                I had a couple of thoughts as I read through this chapter.  The first was on the obligation that the sons of Mosiah be patient in their afflictions that they may show forth good examples.  First, that clearly indicates that they would suffer afflictions that were not for their benefit, but rather for the benefit of those who happen to be around them.  Having experienced this in my life from time to time, it is particularly difficult when the one for whom you are suffering do not recognize the efforts that you are making or even rejoice in your pain.

                But that is the case here.  The Lamanites who bound Aaron, for example, likely rejoiced in his suffering.  And yet Aaron’s suffering (and his patience in that suffering) was for their benefit.

                It is funny how a particular scripture can be so roundly misinterpreted.  We hear all the time that we are not our brother’s keeper, but the reality is that was the position taken by Cain, and there is no indication that the Lord espoused such a position.  In contrast, there is every evidence that we are supposed to be our brother’s keeper, and if this means suffering for our brothers and sisters (even if they rejoice in our suffering or hate us for it) is just a small part of that obligation.

                The other thought I had was on the earlier servants slain by the king before Ammon came along.  In the grand scheme of things, what did their lives amount to?  Unquestionably they were people with hopes and dreams and fears and loves.  And yet, in the final analysis it seems as if they were killed to set a backdrop for the later heroism of Ammon.

                This works for literature, but the Lord does not work through literature.  These servants who were slain (offstage, and with no fanfare) were just as important to the Lord as Ammon.  But, no matter how important we may be, we each have our roles to play.  And we are given no illusions of this mortal life being fair or just – only that, in the great and Final Judgment things will be fair.

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