Sunday, February 22, 2015

Alma 41:12-13 -- On Getting Back

"And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful."
Alma 41:12-13

The whole idea of restoration is interesting.  Alma in the second verse of this chapter calls it "the plan of restoration" and goes on to talk about how our souls and bodies will be reunited, but also that the things that we have done, and desired, in our lives will be restored to us in the end.  This is an interesting principle, because if we think about all the things in our lives that we've done, and desired, there are probably some, if not many, that we don't really want restored to us.
So, then, even though God is the judge, in many ways our lives ARE our judgement.  What we're doing and thinking and feeling matters, every day, and we'll get it all back.  For the parts of that that are terrifying, God has granted us repentance.  But the sort of insta-repentance that we sometimes hope for doesn't really work if you think about the idea of restoration.  Do we want empty or easily-broken promises restored to us?  God is willing to of course give us the benefit of the doubt and allow us to start again... but for the idea of restoration, we really, actually have to change.  If we want love and mercy, we are going to have to really *become* loving and merciful, not just say it.  If we want generosity and kindness, we have to learn those things.
The idea of nature here is interesting as well, and in our society people say different things about our natures as well... that it is natural, for instance, to cheat on your spouse.  That it is natural to sin or act out in certain ways, and that these things are built into us.  ... And I don't know.  Maybe they are.  Maybe our bodies are prone to poor choices, just as theoretically our Ids, psychologically, aren't really good at thinking things through.  But we're not just that.  God gave us free agency... and it is our gift to choose.  To choose to act on instinct or to behave differently.  ... In the end though, whatever we do choose is going to be returned to us.  I think that is one of the most important reasons that God tells us that the most important commandments are about love.  ... The sincere, trustworthy kind. :)
Today, let's take some time and think about restoration, and what we want out of life.  If it is different than what we are putting in to it, let's rethink.  Let's talk to God today about how to become more loving and kind and generous and good, and then let's really take the time to change ourselves into what we want back.

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