Thursday, August 11, 2016

Alma 41:15 -- On Restoration and Compassion

"For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all."
Alma 41:15

I woke up thinking about a vacation that I took about 4 years ago with my sister, and it reminded me of this principle of restoration.  The trip was awesome--so many good things, and opportunities to see God's hand.  One thing right at the end was really bad though.  Our taxi driver coming back from the cruise ship was the worst I have *ever* seen.  He didn't have any idea where he was going, and then after wasting about 40 minutes, even when we finally got near my house and we told him to stop, he drove on past and wandered even more... I think just trying to further inflate the fare.  When we finally, after untold frustration, got to my apartment with less than 2 minutes for my sister to grab her things and say goodbye before catching her cab to the airport, he actually held her bags hostage in the trunk until I not only paid him, but I gave him a *tip.*  Needless to say, a very frustrating experience.

Today, looking back on that experience, I was reminded of another thing that had happened earlier in the trip.  We were in a hotel and found out that the internet that we paid for with the room was only good for one device.  We were far from home, and both wanted to get on and be able to check in on our regular lives.  So, making a conscious decision to be a jerk, I called up the front desk, and proceeded to rip into them for not only their internet policy, but for everything else... how they had advertised the hotel as being close to our destination when it wasn't really, etc.  And I was definitely not polite about it, to be clear.  I was doing it specifically to get access to another internet code, which I figured I wouldn't have to pay for if I complained enough.  Sure enough, I got it.  And at the time, I felt justified, and thought that the hotel owed me that.  Thinking about it later, and especially today though, I know that nothing could have justified me treating an innocent desk clerk in that way.

Thinking about these two experiences in concert made me think about restoration, because in truth, after being such a jerk, I probably deserved someone to be such a jerk to me.  I have no idea if that is the way God was thinking of it at the time, but whether it was or not, it is a good illustration of the idea of the whole thing.  Too often we just think about what bad things other people have done to us, and we kind of shrug off the ones we do to others, hoping they will just blow over, or no one will bring them up, or even, like me, thinking that we are justified.  Today, let's remember that what we send out will return to us, and that we are never justified in committing sin.  Let's do good and repent of our evil, so that we can have good restored to us.  And let's try to treat each other with a little more compassion, so that God can show us some as well. :)

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