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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Healing our Hands

I have briefly mentioned this in the last post. For this post, I want to change up the style a little bit. I want to share with you a very vivid dream I had about a specific subject, some of the details are changed (mostly because I can't remember all of them):

My companion and I traveled to a family we were teaching. They were not in the best economic situation. They lived in a trailer park. This family consisted of a few teenagers, and a single mother. We had entered the dimly lit house. And, for some reason, we could not teach in the front room, so we had to go to some back room. It was painted yellow, and we had sat on their couch. Previous to this, we had decided to teach them the principle of repentance. As we were teaching them, the look in their face was that of confusion. Just like the look many of my friends had in math class in high school. I knew it was just not "clicking." Then, I remembered that most people understand when there is a visual in the lesson. I, in my clever mind, thought that I would do some sort of visual. I ran to the kitchen, and brought back the only object I needed. I sat down on the couch, and told them that this is what happens when we sin... I then stretched forth my left hand, and with the utensil, I cut my hand. The knife was surprisingly sharp. It sliced through the callous on my hand like a butter knife through warm butter. It, in fact, did not sting. Then, my entire left hand opened up, or "fell open," as you will. The odd thing about this entire thing was there was no blood... When my hand opened it had the same texture and consistency of cake. It was like white cake with rainbow pieces in it, but the only color was red. I thought this was odd, myself. Then I felt compelled to smell the wound I had just inflicted upon myself (don't ask me why, it was a dream). The wound smelt sweet, and had a hint of strawberry to it. I said, "Well, that's odd it smells like strawberries." (yes, odd I know, but keep working with me). Then, I grabbed a sewing kit, which I had noticed under the table. Luckily for me, it had a threaded needle in it. I grabbed it and looked at them and said, "Repentance is like what I am about to do right here." then I took the needle and was about to push it through my callous. Then I hesitated and said, "I kinda don't want to do this, because it will hurt a lot." But, I bore through this mental wall, and I pushed it through. It hurt more than the knife did, of course, but I was able to sew up the self-inflicted wound (which looked like white cake, and smelled like strawberries).

There are many interesting things about this dream, and I believe all are important in understanding repentance. First, sinning is much like inflicting the wound to yourself, spiritually. Next, this sin (wound) leaves you in a condition of being weaker than you were previously. Have you ever tried to pick up a five pound weight with a rod made of cake? I assure you it will not hold very well. This weak state leaves us more prone to more wounds to be inflicted. Yes, sometimes we do not want to heal the wound because it may seem pleasant (like smelling like strawberries). We may also not want to heal from the wound because the process of repentance might "sting." Yes, it may hurt, but you will be stronger for it. This is what we do if we have sinned and hurt ourselves. (Frankly, we are kids, and kids hurt themselves. So, all of us need to go through this process sometime.) Repentance is healing from our wounds. In this sense, it is as beautiful as our body healing itself after a burn.

But another part of repentance is becoming better than who you are now. It is the works we show that we truly have faith in Jesus Christ, and His Atonement for us. This is a process of change.
In both of these senses, repenting is not a bad thing, contrary to popular belief. It is a beautiful process necessary for ALL to come into the presence of Heavenly Father. God wants us to repent. It is His work and glory. As disciples of Jesus Christ (members and missionaries alike), our duty is to preach repentance (even though we may not be using that word). We often do it through inviting someone to make a commitment (i.e. reading, praying, going to church, etc...) If you read past posts, I often leave an invitation at the end of each post. Then, we receive blessings for doing those actions. I try to promise blessings as well. My invitation to you is simple, apply the 6 principles of repentance and to acknowledge the Savior throughout each step. They are:

1. Recognize
2. Stop it
3. Confess
4. Make restitution
5. Keep God's commandments
6. Acknowledge the Savior for this Healing process

I promise the guilt and shame you feel because of your past with become peace. You will find joy and you access the power of the Atonement.

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