Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Change of Heart

My sister called me last week to share some great news with me. She had a very special experience with her son (a learning moment) that was a significant spiritual awakening for her and her family. She was anxious to share it with me and I asked her permission to share it on this blog.

She had told me a couple of weeks ago about some neighbors she had that were always borrowing from her. They live pretty far from a grocery store so she thought they had just grown accustomed to borrowing from my sister to avoid having to drive to the store.
In the beginning she didn’t mind but as the weeks wore on it seemed to be a daily thing. She began to feel like she was their grocery store and they just came and went and shopped from her kitchen. They continued to tell her each day that they planned to repay her but they never did. While in her annoyed state she couldn’t help but become bothered by some choices the family was making and they seemed to be going down hill as a family. She felt their lack of food and other items was a result of their own poor personal choices.

Last Sunday she was down in her eight year old son’s room reading scriptures with him. It’s something they do each night before they go to bed. This night was a little different though as it was fast Sunday. They had fasted that day for certain things and it was my sister’s first fast in over 14 months as she has a 5 month old baby and couldn’t fast while pregnant and nursing.

They were reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah Chapter 4. When she came to verse 16 – 26 suddenly she felt the spirit pour over her body and the Lord speaking directly to her.

This chapter is King Benjamin speaking to his people. He says:

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

She never realized she had been in need of repentance from feeling this way. The verse changed her heart.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Yes, God has given us all that we have and when we share we are really the hands of the Lord. We are giving on behalf of the Lord. He blesses us so that we can bless others.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

Yes, my sister had been judging her neighbors and did not realize the severity of what she was doing. Verse 22 brought her to her knees.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

After reading this my sister turned to her son and told him that she had felt the Spirit over come her and that the Lord was trying to tell them something. His eyes watered up and he said, “Mom my eyes are watering, is that the Spirit I am feeling?” What a great teaching moment as a mother. As she taught her son that the way they had felt about their neighbors was wrong, her son believed her and agreed. She also taught her son that because they had fasted that day, they had opened up spiritual communication with their Father in Heaven. Because their spiritual eyes and ears were opened they were able to recognize the Lord speaking to them.

The next day my sister was surprised when she asked neighbors if she could borrow a latter to hang Christmas lights. Not only were they excited to lend her the latter, they gave her a bunch of things she had been in need of as well. She realized that the monetary value of what they had given her that day was more than the total value of all the things she had ever let them borrow. She was instantly humbled. My sister walked away that day a new person and had a new perspective of her neighbors.

During this Christmas season, let us remember that God gives us everything we have including our very lives. We owe it to Him to love one another and to give to those in need. Whether the gifts that we give are spiritual, emotional or physical and tangible, let us give with an open heart without judgment. I promise that by doing this we will feel the Spirit of Christ in our lives and we will be blessed immensely. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Happy Holidays!

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