Monday, December 14, 2015

D&C 103:8-13 -- On Saving, Blessing, and Redeeming

"But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.
For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.
Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren—your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down."
Doctrine and Covenants 103:8-13

I love the idea that we are not only supposed to be lights to the world, but also saviors.  To emulate Christ in even that.  Obviously we can't save the world in the way that he did, but we can do his work in other ways, and work on saving each other by coming unto him, joining together, building a community of love and service, and being the solution to the world's problems rather than being part of the problem.  Building Zion is God's work, and something that we can join in... we need each other to build the perfect community.  It isn't something that we can do alone.  Just as we're told that we can't be made perfect alone (Hebrews 11:40; D&C 128:15), we can't learn what it takes to save or be saved alone.  The first commandment is to love God, and the second is love our neighbors as ourselves.  How could we do that with no neighbors? :)
I also really like the idea here that the blessings come after the tribulations.  It reminds me of the movie Shadowlands: "The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."  Pain and joy seems to be part of each other in a way.  We wouldn't be able to learn joy if we didn't know pain... but unlike life (and Shadowlands), we know that with God the joy and blessings in the end will always outweigh and overcome the pain... so much so that our greatest suffering will seem slight.
In the last verse of the selection, God promises us the blessing of redemption.  The specific redemption mentioned here, but also redemption in general.  It's why Christ suffered for us, and the gift that he gave.  Because of him, we can repent, and every single thing that we've screwed up or done wrong... every time we're hurt people instead of healing them... every time we made the wrong choice and made things worse instead of better... God will make it better.  He will make it okay.  He will step in and save us from ourselves, from our mistakes and our petty cruelty, and from everything that we don't want to be.  He will make it okay and allow us to change, and grow beyond that.  That's what redemption means... that's what being saved is.  ... And what is even a lifetime of suffering compared to that, really?  To have all the bad things erased, and to stand clean before God, free of all of our sins and errors?
That's what Christ does for us, and that is what we can share in as we work to become lights and saviors in other people's lives.  We can be examples, and we can show God's love to others by forgiving and loving them as he would.  We can spread his message and his acceptance and goodness.  Today, let's work on bringing blessings, and on spreading the message and miracle of redemption with others.

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