“A Few Stripes”?

Before I go on with my thoughts for the day, I would like to point you to a blog that I enjoy reading. These are the thoughts of another LDS woman who has been through similar circumstances to mine. She also seems to have a talent for being a bit more elequent and delicate than I can be. Anyway, it’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who understands. Check out The Rains Came Down blog.

This morning, I was reading 2 Nephi 28:8

And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

This is a very familiar verse — since I joined the church as a young college student, I’m sure I’ve heard two or three times a year. Sadly, it often seems to come up in relations to those “other churches” that aren’t as “valiant” as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Somehow, it’s as if we believe that because we have been baptized, gone to the temple, and attend church  regularly that we have our “in card” with God.

What if Nephi, echoing things he had learned from angels and prophets, wasn’t just speaking about those “other churches”? In Revelation, a group of members is called on the carpet for being “lukewarm” because their works are neither good nor evil. Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, I am finding a call to be firmly on the Lord’s side of the line, always obedient, and always ready to do whatever the Lord asks of us in his service.

The rewards for exact obedience are having our hearts, minds, and characters changed so that we become increasingly like Christ; having our sins forgiven forever; being part of the first resurrection, and eventually being a joint-inheritor of all that the Father has.

The consequences for anything less? Not being able to live eternally with God the Father.


But, What about Repentance?

That made me stop and think about how all of that ties in with mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and the Atonement. After all, we learn through prophets and apostles that we were basically sent here to learn from our mistakes.

And I think mistakes is the important word.

In the verse from 2 Nephi, the obvious attitude is that God is just kidding, a little bit of sin is fun, and we can always repent later when it maybe isn’t so fun. That’s not a mistake. That’s rebellion.

I also remember that we will not only be judged by the things we say and do, we will be judged by the intent of our hearts.

Let’s face it: almost everyday people with the best of intentions misjudge a situation and accidentally hurt someone else’s feelings, excellent drivers get distracted for just a moment, and our bodies, minds, and spirits just get worn out sometimes.

These are the reasons that should be driving us to repent. If we are committing deliberate sins, the Lord still loves us and wants us to turn and repent — we are just injuring our spirits in a way that makes it harder for us to turn and take the first steps.

That is why the scriptures warn us to watch ourselves. Satan is sneaky, and he will use whatever tiny opening he can find to lead us down the wrong path.