Thursday, July 10, 2014

Doctrine and Covenants 38:41-42 -- On Saving Ourselves

"And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.
And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen."
Doctrine and Covenants 38:41-42

God tells us here a couple of important things.  First that we should be a warning voice to others.  Significantly, "in mildness and in meekness."  No railing accusations or vehement denunciations, apparently. :)  Preaching as in being a positive influence and sharing important principles with others.  The whole "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15) idea rather than the fairly corrupt "I'm right and you're wrong" approach that we often take to philosophical differences. :)
The second thing is also telling here.  First, be a good example, and second, don't succumb to the world's influence or example.  Help to change others for the better, but don't change for the worse.  ... Not that we shouldn't change at all, of course, but we need to remain clean.  "Bearing the vessels of the Lord" is a reference to the idea of ourselves as temples of God.  And the words "Save yourselves" seem quite strong here... and I think rightly so.  It isn't about us being able to perform the atonement, of course.  In that sense, only God can save us.  However, we often allow ourselves to be influenced by the world in some strong and unsavory ways.  And we justify it by saying that we need to tolerate this or that because it is our job, or they are our friends, or it's just a part of life.  But when we find ourselves changing for the worse... perhaps becoming less patient or angrier, or using more foul language, or going in the wrong direction on nearly anything, we should probably stop and look at what influences there are in our lives, and do something about it.  We need to be headed towards God, not away from him.  Today, let's make some better choices.  Let's be meek, and mild, and loving... a kind and helpful example to others of service and goodness.  And let's save ourselves by noticing, and then extricating ourselves from, situations and influences that make us worse instead of better.

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