05 February 2013

We know Who we are, when we know Whose we Are

This past week I have been studying King Benjamin's sermon, found in The Book of Mosiah. You know when you come across something in the scriptures that totally tugs at your heart strings? The entire Book of Mormon does that, but, there are some things that - when read - feel almost familiar. King Benjamin's sermon was that for me. 

His sermon starts in chapter two, and King Benjamin goes on to counsel his people to keep the commandments of God, to continually serve, to repent and humble themselves, and to be merciful towards others. My favorite part begins in verse 23:

Mosiah 2:23 "And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him..."

Mosiah 2:24 "...Ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? "

Mosiah 2:25 "...Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."

Mosiah 2:31 "...Ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are..."

Mosiah 4:5,7 "...If the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness... I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation..." 

Mosiah 4:11 "...Ye should remember... your own nothingness... you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility."

Mosiah 4:19-20 "...For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God?... And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay... God... has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are..."

I don't know how to express the feelings I felt when I read that. I could have articulated my point with one or two of those verses, but it's amazing to me how many times King Benjamin makes it clear that without the Savior and His Atonement for each of us, we are nothing. King Benjamin - A PROPHET - when speaking of himself, refers to himself also, as less than the dust of the earth. If that isn't humility I don't know what is. 

President Gordon B. Hinckley says this:
"Let us be more merciful. Let us get the arrogance out of our lives, the conceit, the egotism. Let us be more compassionate, gentler, filled with forbearance and patience and a greater measure of respect for another. And if, through our lives, we have granted mercy to others, we shall obtain it for ourselves." 

An English author - John Ruskin, shares the following statement,
"the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean, by humility, doubt of his own power... [But really] great men... have a curious... feeling that... greatness is not in them, but through them... and they see something Divine... in every other man... and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful."

Mercy and humility might quite possibly be two of the hardest attributes to excel at. I know personally, I have a very long way to go, but reading those scriptures humbled me deeply. The point is, we are nothing without our Heavenly Father and Savior. The point is, our Savior Jesus Christ is perfect, and He is perfectly humble and merciful. He was mocked and ridiculed and attacked. He was hated and betrayed and the things He went through and the way He lived His life is a testament that each and all of us have absolutely zero excuse to ever feel superior over anyone, and to ever feel that we in some way can excuse ourselves from giving mercy to others. We, as humans, we as 'unworthy creatures', we as less than 'the dust of the earth', feel that we somehow have the nobility to borrow our Saviors calling to judge another. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ will and always will be the ONLY two who is EVER justified to place judgement, and for us to think we could ever be great enough to do so is hypocrisy and selfishness at it's finest. 

I am grateful for my Savior, who willingly, and perfectly, and selflessly submitted to His Fathers will and atoned for each of my sins, my infirmities, and my weaknesses. The horrific things He endured we will never, ever, ever be able to comprehend even the smallest fraction of. He gave His life for us, and for heavens sake, the least we can do is give our lives to Him, which were only His to give. We are nothing without Him. We have nothing without Him. We owe absolutely everything to Him. 

I am immensely grateful for the Atonement, and immensely sounds ridiculous because the appreciation I have can only be shown in my actions and the way I live my life. 

Saint Francis of Assisi says it perfectly,
"Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words."

It is the way we live our lives we can express our love, our gratitude, and our humility to the Savior, and thank goodness we have the ultimate and perfect example.