If we are to live a celestial life we must abide by celestial laws. Many of these laws are given in the Sermon on the Mount: Nephite Edition, and include loving our enemies, not being angered, not letting impure thoughts enter our hearts, and turning the other cheek. All of these point to a state of being: Being humble, being charitable, and being virtuous. As struggling mortals, we understand the concrete examples of these traits which Jesus gives more clearly that the traits themselves. For example, we use the word humble and it can mean so many different things. It can describe one isolated demonstration, a manner of dress, living circumstances, or it can express any degree of meekness or submissiveness in a person. The way that Christ uses it comes closest to this last, except that he shows us exactly what degree of humility is humble. The description is this: that if someone were to take your coat, you would give him your cloak also, that you would never call someone out as in saying “thou fool,” that if physically hit, you would take another blow before reacting in a way to offend one of God’s children. The standard is clear and can be achieved regardless of race, gender or social status, but for most of us, especially me, it is not always the go to reaction. The same can be said of charity and virtue. Are any of us perfectly charitable? I know that I am far from it. Only one is.
Christ end with the words, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Ne. 12:48)
In the words of President Holland, “I believe that Jesus did not intend His sermon on this subject to be a verbal hammer for battering us about our shortcomings. No, I believe He intended it to be a tribute to who and what God the Eternal Father is and what we can achieve with Him in eternity. In any case, I am grateful to know that in spite of my imperfections, at least God is perfect—that at least He is, for example, able to love His enemies, because too often, due to the “natural man” and woman in us, you and I are sometimes that enemy.” (General Conference Oct 2017)
We are born into this world, and we get so caught up in it. Occasionally we compromise, and sometimes we entirely forget our purpose here. How often I have put my trust in the arm of flesh and thought my friendship with the world was right and good? how often have I needed to be shouted the refrain, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) How often did I think such a friendship was bigger than a seemingly arbitrary and insignificant commandment? How often have I realized in tears and shame how wrong I was and how lost I was and how weak I am?
…At least once.
Once we realize that path was lost, how long must it take to again find it? Will we ever find it? If you are as fortunate as I, you’ve been told exactly where to turn in a place like this. Perhaps you’ve never felt so unworthy to ask God for forgiveness. Perhaps it seems utterly ridiculous. How wondrous it is then, in the midst of that darkness we brought upon ourselves, as soon as we turn it over to him, we realize his spirit is right there beside us. We feel that worth and we feel hope. In our heart or our mind we know that somehow, impossibly, he is not only with us, but he loves us. As time stretches on, we can become closer to him than we have ever before been. We will realize that he doesn’t need our suffering–that’s why Christ died for us–all he needs is us to change. And we will find that we can. Somehow, everything is clear going in the right direction, even in the dark. Indeed, it is infinitely more clear that when you were heading the wrong direction in the light. Surrounded by light, but not seeking, you were in ignorance, and ignorance is darkness. But no darkness can remain when any person therein calls upon the name of Christ with faith unto repentance, earnestly seeking. We create our reality, only in that we choose it, and Jesus Christ creates it. It has nothing to do with our circumstances.
To be continued