Sunday, January 3, 2016

Alma 36:18-20 -- On Complete Healing

"Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am bin the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"
Alma 36:18-20

There are some great things here.  I like the fact that when the pain of sin is over, it can be gone all the way... no memory of the pain, no everlasting regret.  Repentance is a true new start, and you don't have to suffer eternally for your mistakes.  I also love that the joy is just as extreme as the pain was.  God isn't a torturer, making us thankful just for the absence of pain.  He's a healer.  He puts our souls back together again after we've damaged them, and we become new again, not just functioning, but happy.  It's kind of like Christ's physical healing.  He healed a man born blind, and people who had been lame most of their lives.  Modern medicine can do the same thing, kind of, in some cases.... but to see the immensity of it, consider how modern medicine does things like that.  If we grant sight or mobility to people, they have to relearn how to walk, or learn what all the things that they see mean... learn colors, learn depth perception, etc.  When Christ healed, he healed *completely* ... none of that was necessary.  People could take up their beds and walk immediately instead of going to physical therapy.  God's kind of healing doesn't just fix us physically, but also spiritually, mentally, emotionally... every other way.  Instead of just stopping the bleeding, God's healing can take away the scars... whether physical or otherwise.
None of this is to say that repentance is easy.  I know it isn't.  And it isn't to say that sometimes we don't need some reminders of our mistakes so that we don't make them again.  Even Alma (the person speaking in these verses) had to go farther than this.  Life doesn't end when we're forgiven... we still have to move forward and live better lives.  But I am saying that when God forgives us and blesses us, he does it completely and wholeheartedly.  We're whole and clean again, and to him, no matter our offenses, we aren't parolees or ex-cons to be closely monitored.  We're just people that he loves just as much as if we had never made the mistake in the first place.  And if that isn't a reason for exceeding joy right there, I don't know what is.  Today, let's call upon God for mercy.  Let's repent and decide now to change.  And let's thank God for the atonement and the forgiveness and wholeness that Christ makes possible.

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