Saturday, February 2, 2019

Exodus 8:25 -- On Being Torn in Half

"And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land."
Exodus 8:25

When Pharaoh says that they can go here, he takes it back shortly thereafter, even though he chose to call them in and announce his decision. He has kind of an ambivalent relationship with Moses, the Children of Israel, and ultimately God here... both wanting to be free of them and wanting to control them.

Although the circumstances of our lives are vastly different, I feel like we often feel similarly about God and his will.  We like the idea of doing his will on one hand, and hate it on the other, and both parts pull on us.  And if this were a temporary thing where we felt torn and then worked through it and resolved it, it might be healthy, but often we harbor that feeling of being torn in half for years, or even a lifetime, inhibiting our ability to make choices or to fully commit to anything, because we are always wanting to *also* choose the other side.

Perhaps one of the reasons that we get into this state is that is hard to accept God's assertion that "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).  We really, really want it to be true that we can do whatever we want, and not have to worry about the consequences.  We want to do things our way rather than God's way, or we want to choose both God *and* sin, and we want that so badly that it feels like killing part of ourselves to choose one or the other.

I think maybe this feeling is part of what Christ was addressing when he said "if thy hand offend thee, cut it off" (Mark 9:43) and similar things.  He likely didn't mean it entirely literally, but was trying to get us to the idea that when we have a spiritual/physical conflict that we should always, always choose spirit, and that no matter how much we feel like sin or emotional/physical desires are part of who we are, we can, and should, face the pain and choose our connection to God over our connection to anything else at all.

Today, if we are being torn in half by something, let's start working through it and resolve it in God's favor.  Even though that choice might cause us considerable pain now, much as the self-maiming that Christ suggested, if we choose and commit to God, letting go of everything pulling us in the other direction, it will make us happier in the long-term.  That happiness includes the relief of not having to feel that continued inner conflict every day of the rest of our lives, because as we choose God, he will begin to heal our wounds, and over time we won't feel ripped in half anymore.  With him, we will find wholeness and peace.  Let's work to have the faith to move towards that good goal, and not end up like Pharaoh did, never able to choose and destroyed by the consequences.

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