Friday, November 11, 2016

Helaman 1:3-6 -- On Pacumeni's Choice

"Now these are their names who did contend for the judgment-seat, who did also cause the people to contend: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni.
Now these are not all the sons of Pahoran (for he had many), but these are they who did contend for the judgment-seat; therefore, they did cause three divisions among the people.
Nevertheless, it came to pass that Pahoran was appointed by the voice of the people to be chief judge and a governor over the people of Nephi.
And it came to pass that Pacumeni, when he saw that he could not obtain the judgment-seat, he did unite with the voice of the people."
Helaman 1:3-6

This is an interesting story about an election.  Pahoran, who was the chief judge, had died, and three of his sons wanted to step into their father's vacant position.  Pahoran Junior won.  And Pacumeni, although I am certain that he was disappointed, united with the voice of people.  Paanchi, however, did not.  He was mad, and decided to go around the laws of the land in order to get his way.

Setting aside for now the rest of the political intrigue that happened in this story (there was a lot), I think we can learn a lot from Pacumeni.  We're often disappointed in life.  People die, we get sick.  We lose things that were important to us... financially, emotionally, physically, mentally.  We get older.  Things don't go our way, or the way that seemed right to us.  God has a different plan.  And although the situation isn't exactly identical, we face the same general choices that Pacumeni and Paanchi faced.  We can accept reality, or we can fight against it.

Now, I am definitely not saying that we should always accept the status quo.  Sometimes reality is pretty evil, and God's will is that we work to change it.  But the problem that both Pacumeni and Paanchi faced was not about God's will... it was about their individual wills.  Part of the idea of humility is the ability to accept God's will, and jump in and figure out why, and what we have to learn, rather than fighting against it.  Even when God wants things to change, it is almost always in a way that we have a hard time accepting emotionally.  God likes slow, patient, kind change that will last, not immediate revolution, vindication, and punishment of all who opposed us.

Today, as we face the ever-changing disappointments and losses of life, let's remember and honor Pacumeni's choice, and learn from his example.  Let's be humble and teachable and show kindness and love to the people around us, even in the midst of our troubles.  Let's accept that God's will is not our will, and that life isn't always going to go our way.  Let's work with the reality we have, and make it ever better, according to the will of God.

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