(October 17, 2015)
In our current society, there is a war of ideas going on. Like many such conflicts, Satan is doing his very best to drive both sides (contention, of course, being of the devil). On the one side are those preaching justice, obeying the law of chastity, and so forth. On the other side are those preaching mercy, love, and kindness. Somehow Satan has managed things so that these two groups of people are at each others’ throats.
Of course, this scripture highlights the importance of both elements – justice and mercy. We show no love or mercy by ignoring sin or attempting to cover it to assuage the conscience of those who are violating the commandments of God. But, at the same time, we show no justice by condemning Another’s servant and doing what we can (those of us outside of Priesthood authority) to excising them from the body of Christ.
The answer, of course, is to recognize that these virtues must not be in conflict and to continue to study and pray until we find the way to reconcile them. To stand for the truth and encourage obedience, while remaining loving and eternally hopeful that repentance will be accepted. And, of course, to spend less time seeking for the sins of others and more time seeking for our own sins to eliminate.
The other thought I had as I read through this chapter was on
Alma’s language regarding evil and
repentance. He explicitly states that if
we have the desire to do evil, we must repent or we would suffer the consequences. Notice what he didn’t say – he didn’t say
that if we did evil we needed to repent.
Our desires alone are sufficient to indicate who we are at a core level,
and if (in our deepest hearts) we are evil, then we must repent or change of
that evil heart if we hope to fully accept the Atonement. It is not enough to merely control behavior
(though that is a necessary part of our progression) – we must change the very
nature of who we are, and that can only be accomplished through the Grace of