22 April 2015

God does not hurt His children.

I've been pondering through some Mormon Myths this week. Here are the results of said ponderings:

Myth #1) Because we suffer in this life, it's God's will that we suffer.

This LIFE is a gift from God. The horrible things that happen are a result of the Fall. Not God.

We chose to come here, shouting for joy at the chance. God did not act upon us, forcing us to come here.

When I chose to go to college, my parents made it possible for me to do so. They took me to the school to drop me off and get me settled in, they helped to support me while I was there, and allowed me to make my own choices and learn. My parents were not in any way responsible for the hard and sometimes deeply painful things I experienced while I was there--that stuff was a result of the choices of other people around me, or my own choices. My parents knew that going to college could introduce me to painful situations, but they did not create those situations, nor did they force me into them. Much to the contrary, they advised me as best they could, warning me of potential pitfalls. They are good parents, just as God is the perfect Father.

Myth #2) God is all-powerful, and so it must be His will that we suffer.

If I believe God is all-powerful, then I accept what He said in scripture, including that He is a God of truth, and cannot lie. The knowledge of those two things alone are what the Lord told Mahonri Moriancumer redeemed him from the fall, bringing him back into the Lord's presence (Ether 3:9-13).

Believing those things--and being willing to let go of everything else--was what precipitated the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost in my life.

God the Son came to this benighted place, giving up His glory in heaven, clothed in flesh, lived a life wholly submitted to His Father, committing no sin whatsoever, yet experiencing every temptation either in His life, or in Gethsemane. He triumphed over ALL sin and death, and has said repeatedly that He offers salvation to all those who come unto Him. He offered milk and honey without cost and without price, living water so we never thirst again, a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light. Everything about Jesus Christ calls us to rise from bondage, to step out of the chains with which we are bound. There is power in the name of Jesus, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17, Jeremiah 10:6)

Our God IS generosity, IS love, IS freedom, IS kindness, IS gentleness, IS patience, IS tolerance, IS healing. It is not His will that we suffer. Not ever. In D&C 19, the Lord says that He suffered for ALL, so that we don't have to, if we repent . . . and He took upon Himself our sickness and infirmities so that He would know how to succor us (Alma 7:11-12).

His calling card in His earthly ministry was healing. It was the proof of His authority and calling. His instructions to the Seventy included healing all those whose homes they stayed in. Why go through all of that additional anguish and injury and horror if He wasn't going to use it to liberate all of us, whom He so loves? Why would He suddenly become a respecter of persons, telling one here and one there that, unlike everyone else, He wills that they suffer? He knows what it is like for a child to live in a hellishly abusive home. Jesus knows what it is like to be terrified and terrorized by an abusive parent or spouse, knows what it is like to be abused emotionally and verbally, denied the very most basic human needs of love and acceptance. His entire purpose IS to heal every hurt, to give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, to fill us with His spirit.

Our illnesses, weaknesses, and sin are not something to be borne in patience, waiting for the end of our lives so we can be free of them.

We all are equal in the sight of God. All repentant souls have equal claim on His grace: we all can lay claim on ALL of it, because He has already given us all of it. That gift was complete, finished, and given to us, when His victory was complete.

This life is HARD WORK. We get hurt, we feel pain, we experience, we learn, and we draw close to God. It's like the labor pains of childbirth. I chose to bring six children into this world. Even after my first labor, which was incredibly painful and really traumatic, I chose to have more children, and I chose to endure the pain for their benefit. (Long story--no heroism here. My first baby was adversely affected by the epidural anesthesia, and I simply couldn't bring myself to put another one of my babies through that.)

1 John 4:8: "He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love."

What is love?
4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (Moroni 7:45)
The pure and perfect love of Christ, He who is the example by which we understand love, cannot be injury to someone. Love is not willing someone to suffer. Love is being willing to suffer, yourself, so another does not have to.