Saturday, November 26, 2016

Alma 42:29 -- On Questions and Sins

"And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance."
Alma 42:29

This is an interesting chapter, and this is near the end of an explanation that Alma offers his son about justice and punishment, because his son was attempting to propose that it was "injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery" (Alma 42:1).  And that is a tough thing that we probably all wonder about at some point... the questions about why doesn't God save everyone, or why God allows us, or other people to suffer.  That isn't what I am going to talk about today, but I do recommend reading this chapter.  It's very interesting.

I liked this verse near the end of the explanation a lot.  Alma didn't blow off his son's questions at all.  He took the time to explain the whole thing to him and to make sure that the ideas behind the gospel truths were as clear as he could make them.  After he clarified the answer to the question though, he further helped his son by also explaining, basically, that he was asking the wrong questions.  He was focusing on ways to justify his behavior by questioning God, when his attention was needed instead in focusing on his own sins, and how to overcome them.

I think we go through similar things in this life.  When things seem dark or out of balance, we often focus outward, trying to figure out what is wrong with the universe or the world, rather than on what is wrong in our lives.  Like Alma's son, our time would be better spent figuring out how to overcome ourselves... repenting and repairing our lives, so that we can "look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands" (Alma 5:19).  Definitely not saying that we can't ask questions, or that we shouldn't seek answers or explanations about the gospel, or talk to God about these things.  Those are important parts of learning the gospel, and working through our own testimonies.  Only that we often get sidetracked with less important questions, trying to justify ourselves, when the really truly important thing is to work on cleaning up our lives.

Today, let's try to let go of some of those things that are troubling us, and only let our sins trouble us enough to do something about them.  Let's repent and do better, and as we do, we can look to God for the answers to any lingering questions, and be better able to hear what he has to say.

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