If you prefer to listen over reading an article, keep an eye on A Balanced Saint of Mind on YouTube. I post video versions of my blog posts on my channel. The video versions are often posted a little later than the written blog posts.
So Mosiah 25-28. We see churches created in Zarahemla and persecution of believers. We see a father who prayed for his son and received a miraculous (albeit painful) answer. Before I go too far, I actually want to talk about the alien movie, “Arrival.” It has Amy Adams in it if that helps jog your memory if you’ve seen it.
If you haven’t seen it or if it’s been a while, let me recap. Aliens show up on earth. Louise Banks, a linguist, is recruited to try and talk to them. She learns the alien language and without making things too confusing, this language essentially rewires her brain so that she can see the future (to put it simply).
As Louise is learning the language and starts having “memories” of the future, she sees herself marrying one of the other main characters and having a daughter with him. This daughter, Hannah, dies at age 12 from an incurable illness.
Louise knows that if she marries this guy and has her daughter, she actually ends up losing both of them. And yet, in the movie, she chooses it regardless. She doesn’t choose it because she’s afraid to change the future or anything; she simply chooses it.
I’m sure every person on this planet identifies with the concept of being afraid to love someone because they know it’ll hurt. I remember being on my mission and thinking, “I don’t really want to teach anyone else. I don’t want to learn to love these people immensely and hurt for them. It’s too hard. I can’t bear loving any more people because I can’t bear hurting for them.”
Luckily I’ve grown since then, but have you ever loved someone so much that the “hurt” was different? Maybe that “hurt” might be more intense sometimes, but have you ever loved someone so much that the “hurt” didn’t matter?
After watching this movie, I went upstairs to go to bed but stopped by my daughter’s room and checked in on her. I watched her sleep for just a minute and I knew in that moment, I would have made the same decision as Louise. I would have chosen to still have Evelyn even if I lost her. I would choose to have Evelyn for however long Heavenly Father let me have just for the privilege of knowing her.
For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.
Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.
And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.
I used to see God as this Ultimate, Powerful, Perfect Being who forgave and loved me because He couldn’t help but love me because of His perfection. To put it in King Benjamin’s words, I was no more than the dust of the earth or an unprofitable servant. God was perfect enough to condescend to love even me.
This is true doctrine.
But there is so much more truth. God just simply loves me. He would choose to have me and Christ would choose to suffer for me even if They knew They would lose me simply because they wanted to. They chose me freely in the same way that I would choose my family. They experience our very human emotions (just on a grander scale).
They chose to forgive Alma the Older despite his youthful rebellion in King Noah’s court, and they chose to forgive Alma the Younger. It was easy. God might have let Alma the Younger squirm a little bit in the gall of bitterness but only because He wanted Alma to learn. When I’m hurt or betrayed, sometimes I want them to understand the pain they caused or I hold back my forgiveness until I feel they deserve it. Not God. It is SO easy for them to forgive us. Even when repentance seems like an endless process, Heavenly Father just wants us to come home.
So one very quick, very honest story. I got pregnant with my daughter Evelyn a month after Conner and I got married. I was not ready to be a mom. Evelyn, darling, if you read this someday, don’t be too upset. I was an accident too. Even though my mom won’t admit it, I read her journal and she cried when she found out she was pregnant with me. I went into labor and the doctor came in and told me it was time to push, and I started bawling. I didn’t want to be in labor. I didn’t want to have a baby. I was terrified. The second they placed her on my chest, everything changed. When you experience that kind of love, freely forgiving someone isn’t hard. It’s not even a question or a choice; the forgiveness for mistakes or rebellious little attitudes simply come. It was the same for my son. I lost so much sleep for that kid that I literally thought it would kill me, but that price is negligible. I would pay it a thousand times and a thousand times more to keep him.
That is the kind of love and forgiveness our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel for us. Though repentance can take time, there’s no question as to whether They want us to come home to Them.