(October 21, 2015)
Within a couple of verses, we have what could be considered a contradiction. First, the Lord tells the judges in
that they are not to consider themselves as rulers, but rather to ensure that
Christ rules over them. Then, a few
verses later, we are told that it is not appropriate for the Lord to dictate to
his servants (including, presumably, those judges) in all things, but rather
that they should be anxiously engaged in a good work.
The contradiction seems to arise when we think that judges should be engaged in only doing what the Lord tells them to do. That makes them slothful servants, according to the later verses. Of course, that isn’t what is actually happening. But by examining the apparent contradiction, we can come to a better understanding of what is actually going on in the two sets of instructions.
The judges are not given instructions to not judge or act according to their wisdom and understanding, but rather are given instructions that they are not to rule (or even consider themselves rulers). If a Priesthood leader (or us as parents, for example) act in a manner that is consistent with ruling then we have gone astray. But, by the same token, we are to be actively engaged in a good cause (doing the best that we can for them, rather than selfishly for ourselves). And, of course, if and when the Lord directs us that we have gone astray we must recognize our obligation to bend our wills to the Lord.