Saturday, April 1, 2017

2 Nephi 2:27 -- On Freedom and Happy Endings

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
2 Nephi 2:27

One of the worst lies that we tell ourselves in this life is that we aren't free... that circumstance or luck or society has it in for us, and it is all hopeless or that we're trapped in being who we are, or doing what we do.  Though we might *wish* to be better, or to change our circumstances, we just aren't, and we can't, and we might as well accept our fate.

Here, Nephi tells us differently.  It seems that we are indeed free, and we can choose life or death--captivity or freedom.  This is kind of a drag, since it takes away our excuse for not trying, but it is also pretty cool.  It means that no matter how things are or what is happening in our lives, that we still have some kind of freedom.  Even in slavery, as we learn from Joseph and from the people of Alma (Mosiah 24:15), there are still choices we can make and ways that God can find to help us, if we call upon him.

Speaking of slavery, the freedom "according to the flesh" that Nephi is talking about here is definitely not freedom from bondage, as we know from those examples.  Neither is it protection from being swallowed by a whale, being shipwrecked, or wading through any other tragedy.  Our freedom doesn't protect our minds or our hearts either, which can become ill or be broken, just like our bodies.  So, what is freedom then--and really, what good is it?  I'm glad you asked. :)

Freedom is God's gift to us of the power of choice--the power to become.  We can choose our actions and we can choose our attitude.  We can't always choose the context of those things, and we definitely can't choose what other people do, but we can choose whether we are the hero or the villain of our own story.  It's like reading a book by an author you know really well.  You get to know an author by how he treats his characters.  Does he kill them all off in the end in variously gruesome ways, or do the heroes eventually triumph over evil?  In both books, they go through tough things, and face impossible odds, but the authors you trust are the ones that care about the characters, and help them to get to the happy ending.  God is one of those trustworthy authors.  If we stick with the plot and keep turning the pages, no matter how dark the story is right now, the light will shine through and everything will be okay.  We don't have to be afraid of the ending.  We just have to learn to be the heroes.  And that is the freedom that God gives us... to learn.  To choose life, and hope, and to become, with his help, more that we could ever be alone.

Today, let's stick with God's plan / plot and not the devil's.  Let's choose happiness over misery, life over death, and keep trusting in that happy ending.  Let's use our freedom wisely and choose to be the heroes that we can be.

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