Monday, December 17, 2012

Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil--the battle as old (or older) than time. It is a battle we are all fighting in whether we realize it or not. 

Two sides, many soldiers. 

Whose side are you on?

Evidence of the wickedness: Terror struck a small city on Dec. 14, 2012. The recent heart-wrenching tragedy has caused pleading for relief. More prayers are being offered up to Heaven. Sweet Angels young and old were taken and sent back Home. Those left behind are suffering a gamut of emotions. I have nothing to say that is adequate for this situation. I think parents and those with any feeling whatsoever know what I am talking about. 

We want to do something to make it all better. 
We are afraid to send our children to school, or go to a mall, or to the movies, or anywhere where an unstable and armed person may be lurking. 
At the same time, we have to be strong for our children. 
We have to keep enduring and trying to make it in an ever increasing wicked and scary world.

There is One who can understand all of our feelings and pains, because he felt them too--long ago, in a garden. Suffering for the sins, afflictions, pains, sicknesses--He knows: 

Mosiah 3:7 says, "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people."

And also Alma 7:11 says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." 

The pains and sicknesses--the atonement is not just for sins. He understands us because he has felt it all too. 

That gives me some comfort. We have the Greatest One of all fighting for us and He wants us on His team.

People want prosperity. We want peace. We want to be happy. Funny thing is, I don't know that many people actually know how to acquire it. It's not by working more hours at your job. It's not by fighting wars with other countries. It's not by buying more stuff, having big houses or fancy cars. 

We can have all of these things, but they are usually direct blessings from God because of our righteousness. The story is told over and over again in the scriptures: 

You have a group of people. They are prosperous and happy and righteous. Then, they become prideful--their hearts set on riches and getting gain. Bloodshed, wars, and all types of wickedness ensue. Then, God's destruction comes to cleanse the wickedness from the earth. The people are humbled and they repent. They seek righteousness again, and once again are blessed and become prosperous. It's a cycle of pride.

Unfortunately, I think we are on the part of the cycle that is ripe for destruction. Listen to the news. I can't watch it myself--it's too terrible. Anytime I hear a glimpse of it, there's murders, rapes, abuse, people fighting for unrighteousness, crimes involving legal and illegal substances, infidelity, lying, stealing, and cheating. The television plumbs wickedness directly into our homes not just through the news, but also in forms of entertainment.

We are influenced to think that immorality is okay. We are told we must accept wickedness or we are "haters," "bigots," or "intolerant." "If you don't like (insert whatever sin you can think of), then don't do it. Don't take away other people's rights." I've seen such a thoughts and quotes circling facebook and other media, and I think it is awful. For one, most of our choices, good or bad, do effect others. Satan wants you to believe that you can do whatever you want with your body and life.

Evil is being made to look good, while Good is being set up to look evil. 

It's the plan of Satan. He is a deceiver, a destroyer, a counterfeit, and a manipulator. He will twist righteousness and sugar coat sins to make it appear the way he desires. He even wants us to deny his existence as well as Heaven's, God's, Christ's and our own divinity. He wants to hide all of our identities, so we don't know who he really is and who we really are, and who we can become.

I don't follow what is popular with the world. I try to do what is right. I hope there are many people who do likewise. 

I love this quote by Saint Augustine of Hippo. It encapsulates so much with a simple phrase. 

The only way we can change the world--rid it of terrible crimes, sadness, and hopelessness--is to choose good. Stop choosing evil. Do what is right. Follow the Savior. No government, laws, or people can stop evil. Righteousness is the only antidote. 

Whose side are you on? The one that will ultimately lose? Or the Lord's side? Now is the time to decide. 

I have this quote, but the best source I can find for it is John Bytheways book, "When Times are Tough" on page 30 and 31 and this blog post by Emily Freeman

"The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!" ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Despite all of the tragedy, there is hope. We must seek it and seek the goodness. There are good things that come out of disaster and awful circumstances. Pure and simple acts of love, charity, faith, and serving one another. There are heroes fighting to save others (in more ways than one).  More people raising their voices to God. People cherishing their families more--hugging their children tighter. I find myself praying for relief from the wickedness of the world. I worry for my kids and what they are facing and will have to face. So, I teach them.

We teach them right and wrong.
We teach them to do good.
We help them know how to pray.
We talk about serious topics and situations.
We try to set positive examples.
We read and study the scriptures.
We try to show them the way to Christ.

They can't find their way on their own. They need to be taught. They need to have boundaries. They need to be loved.

© Wendy 2012

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