Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Helaman - Chapter 7

One wonderful thing I've overlooked in the past as I've read this story, is that Nephi was audibly lamenting the wicked choices of the people.  I guess, heretofore, I thought of him as angry and condemning.  As I consider his tower prayer and subsequent conversation with the people, I see him in a different light.

Nephi is not condemning the people; they've already condemned themselves.  He is sorry for their choices because he loves and cares about them.  He only wants their happiness.  It appears that he knows they know how miserable they've made themselves and he invites them to repent so they can once again experience the joy and peace of righteous living.  A call to repentance is a call to happiness, not a call to compliance.

We believe in agency after all.  Far better that we invite to joy than to scold or cajole to conformity.  I believe that it was Nephi's genuine remorse for their suffering that compelled the people to gather to him.  Had he been hollering threats instead, they'd probably have stayed away.  Look around, no body is more cognizant of threat and doom and gloom than are those who have turned their backs on the Lord.  They don't need to be told of their fate, they're living in it.  They need to be compassionately invited to step into the light and peace and joy of forgiveness.

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