Monday, May 26, 2014

Alma 29:1-5 -- On Choice

"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.
Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience."
Alma 29:1-5

Here's another scripture telling us that we get what we want.  And when there is more than one scripture telling us the same thing, perhaps there is more to learn. :)  The first three verses are a wish and then a realization that it isn't a very good wish... but there is still value there.  Alma's desires are shown here, and the desire behind the wish isn't to boss people around or force them into something.  His desire is that people don't have to be sorrowful anymore.  And he knows that repentance is the answer.
The last two verses are why the wish wasn't a great idea... because it wasn't God's plan, and that God gives people what they want, after they understand the difference between good and evil.  It was always Satan's plan to take away freedom and force people to be good.  And yet, often, we wonder why that isn't a good idea.  John Donne in his Holy Sonnet 14 expresses some of that desire, and Alma with his "voice of thunder" expresses a little of it here.  Why can't God force us to be good, and let us all waltz into heaven? 
Let's think about it for a minute.  If we took our children, and forced them to be good ... not only in early childhood, but all the way through adulthood... what would those children turn out like?  Who would they be?  ... Would they grow up to be our equals?  Would they be capable of taking over the family business?  Maybe not.  Maybe, in order to raise children who are capable of independence and divinity, we need to allow them independence and freedom of choice.  Perhaps teaching them the difference between good and evil and allowing them to choose for themselves, as sad as it is when they choose evil, is the only way to raise a child worth having a conversation with.  The only way to have a child who might blow all of our expectations out of the water and become better than we ever expected.
As children of God, given our freedom to choose, let's not choose destruction, evil, death, or remorse.  Since it is up to us,  why not choose salvation, good, life, and joy?  Let's take a step back from our lives and really examine them today.  Are we choosing happiness?  Are we choosing goodness?  If not, let's not justify to ourselves why.  Let's find out how to change it.  Change is hard and painful sometimes... but not as painful as continuing to choose evil and piling it on more and more until we are ready for destruction.  No matter what it is, God can forgive us.  We just have to return to him, and get his help with getting back on our feet... able to start making choices for ourselves again.  God will never tell us all the answers, or even let us lean on him too long... not because he doesn't want to help, but because he wants us to be better than we ever could be as automatons.  He needs us to see and feel the truth for ourselves, not just hear it from him.  Let's get out there and make some good choices. :)

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