Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Alma 4:8

"For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure."
Alma 4:8

This is instructive.  I think that often we think that if we are in the church that we are doing pretty good... at least a lot better than those who are not.  However, at this point in the Book of Mormon the people of the church are getting more wicked than the people outside the church.  How does that happen, and how can we prevent it from happening to us... or reverse the trend if it already has? :)  The main thing that it talks about here is pride... and although it isn't easy to look at ourselves and see pride, perhaps it is easier to look at the other indicators that are here in this scripture... they began to be scornful towards each other.  They began to persecute those who didn't believe exactly what they did.  Do we do this?  Do we look down on other people?  Do we expect them to live up to our standards?  Do we even live up to our own standards?
So often in this life it is easier to look outward rather than inward.  We're scared of self-condemnation, and so we try to focus on other people and how we are better than they are... which must make us okay, right?  But, not really.  Even though it is easier to focus on other people's faults, our own are our biggest problem, and really, the only ones that fall within our jurisdiction.  The church isn't a social club that we can go to and feel smug in our superiority... it is a rehab program for sinners.  The sooner we realize that, the sooner we'll get to work on our own rehabilitation, and maybe even be able to help instead of hurt others.

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