Friday, December 5, 2008

2 Nephi 23:3 -- On Comparison and Community

"I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones, for mine anger is not upon them that rejoice in my highness."
2 Nephi 23:3

I think that this is interesting. We focus on comparison a lot in this beloved world of ours... judging ourselves by how the next guy is doing.  We're rich if we notice the homeless guy down the street, and poor if we drive by a twelve-room house with the perfectly manicured lawn and the iron bars keeping us out.  We decide what is fair by whether it is happening to us, or to someone else.  Sometimes we fall into this game with God.  And it is an easy game to play... somehow we seem to feel better about our position when we mock the people on a higher rung, or the people on a lower… all from comparison of things that seem to represent success to us.  When we are worried about our relationship with God, sometimes we try to mock him too... saying that he doesn't care, or that the people who say they follow him are all hypocrites... or that heaven is boring.  Anything to make ourselves feel better.  We focus on habits instead of people... labeling this person this, and that person that, so that we can feel better with the labels that we attach to ourselves. ...Imagining that one irritating (to us) habit devalues the good that we see in a person, and we think that the good that we know is within ourselves makes up for irritating habits of our own.
We suspend this kind of judgement rarely. Sometimes we manage it to a limited degree with our children... we have the ability to be happy when they achieve more than we have (as measured by our automatic comparison)... and sometimes, albeit rarely, we have a significant person in our lives who we share success and failure with, not casting blame or claiming victory, except as a plurality.  We could probably sum up the goal of our earthly existence by saying that we were sent here to extend that plurality.  God wants us to discover a true sense of community... a Zion... where we stand or fall as a unit, helping each other, and rejoicing in each other's success.  Our task, then, is recognizing that anyone's success is something that builds each of us... lifting each other up from failure to try again. And, as expressed in this scripture... we reach the pinnacle of that sense of community when we extend our plurality to God.  When we realize that we are one with him, as well as with the people around us... when we can rejoice in his highness, even as we are aware of our own comparative "lowness."  We recognize that his highness helps us all to climb higher, and we are in there helping each other climb.  Today, let's rejoice in community, and help each other rather than mocking or judging others to make ourselves feel better. :)

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