I absolutely love how the full counsel of Scripture works together! It is always amazing to me how reading two separate passages come together to form a beautiful picture of the area in which the Lord is trying to help you grow. I had that experience today.
My habit is to read one chapter from the Bible, one from the Book of Mormon, and one from either Doctrine & Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price (depending on which one I’m in at the moment). Sometimes the chapters come together for a broad lesson.
I had started in D&C 31 today. Verse 9 says,
“Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile, Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.”
I was thinking about this passage. There are many areas in my life that are challenging. Dealing with revilers is one of the hardest for me. I face it from many directions. I deal with lies and rumors, and even truth from my former church. Somehow people can make even good truth sound evil, as if becoming Mormon is the greatest scandal since watergate. I also face it from people trying cover their tracks.
There is nothing I can do about. It stinks. It’s disappointing and hurts, but that’s life. The key is figuring out how I am supposed to respond. I think this verse is part of the solution
Be Patient: I think it is easy to forget that our Heavenly Father knows EVERYTHING. I recall having an extra fast not too long ago in order to pray about something that has brought me much pain. I was amazed at the verses the Lord brought to my attention. I will only share one because the other was so specific to the situation that it feels too sacred to share here.
“Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:11-14
We have to wait on Him. Trust Him. Be patient in our waiting. I know patience is hard when you’re in pain, but that is what He not only asks, but deserves.
Revile not against those that revile: It is hard when someone punches you, not to punch back. I think it is equally true when someone punches you emotionally. The temptation is to punch back. You think it will make you feel better, but it won’t because chances are pretty good the revilers will just continue in their behavior and you will feel the exact same way again. Instead I think the solution is what Peter taught.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:….who when he was reviled, reviled not again…..but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Peter 2:21-23
I think that last part is the key, and goes along with the Psalms passage above. We need to entrust ourselves to our Heavenly Father. He is the one who can righteously right the wrongs. Human judgment will always have failings in it.
When I was done with my D&C section I read John 13 and another piece of the puzzle fit together. In this chapter the Savior knew that Judas was about to betray him, and yet he washed his feet. I think this is where I fail. I am good at carefully avoiding someone so as not to return evil for evil. It is tempting at times to want to give a deserving person a good slap, so avoiding them seems a sensible plan. While I am sure Heavenly Father is thrilled I am not handing out whacks, I think He wants me to do more than avoid someone. Maybe I need to wash their feet. Symbolically, of course.
I was thrilled when I finished reading these passages. I’m not sure I measure up yet. I still have a few good whacks yearning to come out. But, I see some minor growth in entrusting myself. Hopefully soon I’ll even be patient in my afflictions.