Friday, April 19, 2019

Mark 16:9-11 -- On Believing Not and Finding Out

"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not."
Mark 16:9-11

These verses make me think of the way that we learn the gospel, always initially from other people... and how hard it is sometimes to trust what they say, no matter how well we know them or how much we trust them, because it is just hard to believe or understand things without some first-hand experience.

Mary was able to prepare the other disciples to learn, and was able to tell them the truth, but until they had that personal experience with the risen Lord, they didn't believe.  ... And nor typically do we, and nor do our children or the people around us.

God's goal in our lives is to teach us and help us to stand on our own, to be able to be self-reliant, not just in physical ways but in spiritual ways.  He wants us to understand and learn things for ourselves.  That's the only way to true conversion, and to being strong enough to stand up for our convictions... because they really are ours, not someone else's. :)

Faith is super important of course, and it isn't at all bad to trust our parents, our friends, or the missionaries when they bear their testimonies, just as it is the opposite of bad to trust God when he says that things will work out.  When we believe and have faith in God then we are blessed, and we can learn spiritual things much more quickly.  I'm just saying the goal of all of it... even the goal of faith... is to help us gain knowledge of the truth, and to learn to love it. :)  It also protects us from being swayed by other people when they offer the opposite message.

Today, if we have doubts, let's go to the source and figure it out with God.  That's the only way to get a testimony and that is the only way to overcome doubt.  The goal in all of this is to empower each individual to know the truth for themselves and to move forward with it.   As we teach and as we learn, let's make sure that we are building up each person's own ability to get answers from God and understand the whys behind the "rules."  Like Mary, let's tell others what we know, but give them the time and the space to find out for themselves.

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