Tuesday’s Torch 542
June 25, 2019
Last week I shared a message with you that I wrote four years ago as a guest author of the Torch. Tonight I have slightly altered a talk I shared at church on Sunday. My comments will be broken up into three parts with undoubtedly some rambling moments mixed in. Lots of times people are given topics that they struggle with or that include a message they themselves need to learn about even more than the congregation. That’s certainly not the case here though. My strongest skills are the topic I was given today, my spectacular humility, I am so humble and meek it’s really a rare gift, but wait there was something else, oh yeah, I’m sarcastic. So that kinda wipes out that other stuff I just said. Just a little joke. I’m actually working on those first parts and as for the sarcasm, a great man once told me I needed to tone that down so I guess you could say I still haven’t gotten around to that.
Part one comes From remarks given by Craig Cardon which include a story from the New Testament:
“A bedridden, paralyzed man desiring to be healed was brought to a large gathering, but unable to get him close to the Savior, his friends took him to the roof of the house where the Savior was and lowered him down.”
I’m going to cut in at this point in the story to say something. This verse hits home to me. While I’m not paralyzed as my disability is a bit different than that, I realize that had I lived at that time instead of in this day and age, I’d be in much the same shape as him. And I am blessed to know many wonderful people who I know would have been willing to carry me onto the roof and lower me down into that room. Now that everybody is ho knows the story has already jumped ahead lets get back to it:
Seeing this demonstration of faith, with a great purpose not yet known to His listeners, the Savior declared, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.””
Hearing the Savior’s words, the scribes and Pharisees had begun to reason among themselves, ignorantly speaking of blasphemy while concluding that only God can forgive sin. Perceiving their thoughts, the Savior addressed them, saying:
“What reason ye in your hearts?
“Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?”
“Not waiting for their response, the Savior continued, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, [He then turned to the paralyzed man] I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.” And he did!”
By this miraculous physical healing, the Savior confirmed to all of us this infinitely more powerful spiritual truth: the Son of Man forgives sins!
While this truth is readily accepted by all believers, not so easily acknowledged is the essential companion truth: the Savior forgives sins “upon earth” and not just at the Final Judgment. He does not excuse us in our sins. He does not condone our return to past sins. But when we repent and obey His gospel, He forgives us.
I love this story. In fact I can still remember hearing this story in a sermon when I was a child. Now I see this story so much differently though and having a knowledge of what is truly important is a blessing. Do I get frustrated sometimes at my limitations? Absolutely. But of these blessings that the Savior has the ability to bestow. Listen, I don’t need to be able to stand up, or to walk, or run or jump, although they are great things to be able to do. But to hear those words from the savior, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” Oh that is the blessing. The scriptures don’t tell us what the mans reaction was when told that his sins were forgiven. But for me, I have need to hear that every day of my life. We all need to hear those words. “Thy sins are forgiven thee”.. And the Atonement doesn’t simply take away the sin but the Atonement is also capable of removing the pains and the regret and the sadness associated with those sins. That’s the healing I want. I’d imagine that is the healing we all want. And sure, if I was told to jump up and carry this 400 pound wheelchair home that would just be an added bonus.
God stands ready to forgive us. Here and now as we turn to him. As we humbly accept responsibility and own up to our mistakes he will lift the burdens we feel. The Savior taught in the New Testament:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This verse speaks of forgiveness and of turning our lives over to the Savior and following Him. Most of us know what a yoke is, that yellow part of an egg right? Just kidding, totally different word, spelling and a slightly different pronunciation that my accent completely hides. A yoke is a sort of wooden crossbar type thing that would go over the shoulders of a beast of burden, let’s say oxen.
The use of this would be to allow those two animals to cooperate and work together to be able to either accomplish more than either could do alone or to make the task easier. Now imagine as we repent and strive to live righteously that we are invited to yoke ourselves with the Savior. (Which by the way we are invited. Right there in the verse I just read a moment ago.) When teamed up with one so much stronger than us, He does the hard work. He makes our burden lighter by taking on the bulk of it himself. There’s another big thing to note, when you become yoked to the Savior, you will go where he wants you to go. Or if you’d rather reject the Help the savior offers, He will allow that and allow us to isolate ourselves and struggle. But brothers and sisters, I can assure you that you don’t want to do that. Because I have done that, for far too much of my life I did that. Accept the Saviors help. Please. I personally beg you.
So part three includes the actual topic I was given that the Savior is our example of forgiveness. In the last days of his mortal ministry, the savior suffered so much pain, he was mocked, and beaten. He was betrayed and arrested just after having willingly taken upon himself our sins and our pains and our infirmities. He was laughed at and spit upon, was cut by a crown of thorns. And yet as he hung on the cross, he said the following as recorded in : Luke 23:34
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Even in the midst of his greatest trials, while weighed down with the sins of all mankind, He completed his task so that we all would have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven, even those who betrayed him, even those who were mocking and hurting him and putting him to death. We are told in the scriptures that we will be judged by how we judge. And that it is expected of us to forgive everyone. With my joking at the beginning of this talk aside: if I were to sit here and hit you with a full talk on forgiving others, I would feel like a hypocrite. As though I am not qualified to speak on something that I’m working on and struggling with. Because I have a lot to learn about that and I need to do a better job of it. But I know it is eternally important and so my challenge to you and to myself is this, follow the example of the Savior. As we enjoy the blessings of repentance and forgiveness right now, seek out ways to also extend forgiveness to those who may have wronged you, whether intentional or by mistake. Our Father in Heaven will bless us as we do.
And also, be sure to forgive yourselves as well. When we accept responsibility for our actions, as we repent and allow the Saviors sacrifice to help us. We should also forgive ourselves. Who are we to reject the gift that the Son of God himself paid the ultimate price to give us?
In closing I encourage everyone, if you need help, seek help. There is help available whether you have depression, anxiety, anger issues, whether your problems are one time sins or whether you are caught up in the midst of addiction. Get help. Both professional and spiritual. Do not wait another day. Trust me. You do not want to wait. If there are any sins in your life that need to be cleared up, repent and make the necessary changes. You will be happy that you did.
The Gospel is true. God lives, and he loves us so very much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to be our example and our salvation. The Savior Jesus Christ lived and died for us and rose again so that all might be saved. Of this I testify in his sacred name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16