Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Persecution: what goes around, comes around

When Nephi calls the Gentiles on the carpet for their treatment of the Jews, he gives a dire prophecy from the Lord. “…you have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.” (2 Nephi 29:5, emphasis added)

Here the law of restoration is declared in force upon all those who persecute the Jews. Those who persecute will be persecuted themselves. Thus we should not be surprised to see atheism persecuting the great and abominable church (and coming in for its own share of blowback persecution as well), extremist Muslims hating the decadence of western civilization, or western civilization coming down hard on the Middle East, where there happens to be a very strong anti-Semitism milieu. That doesn’t make any of it right, of course, but it becomes much less perplexing when we see it as a fulfillment of Nephi’s prophecy of “what-goes-around-comes-around” and take it as assurance that none of this is unexpected by God. (We get a piece of the persecution from both sides, but God strengthens His own, and as long as we turn the other cheek and forgive, we will overcome.)


Curls said...

I love your last sentence, that God strengthens His own. It's easy to get defensive and argumentative when people say nasty things about religion or our religion in particular but what good would that do?

Also, what goes around comes around applies to so many things. If you are selfish it's unlikely others will be selfless for you. If you are mean you are likely to experience more meanness from others. It's the law of the harvest in action.

Ramona Gordy said...

I love your posts, they are thought provoking.You remind me of one who is "crying out in the wilderness".
The world is a hard place, but I believe that for every obstacle there is a way around it. Jesus, the author of all the law, made a case for an eye for an eye etc. I have observed that a trend now is to "Say you are sorry",even if it is an insincere apology, and even if you apologize, the trend seems to be some sort of vengence against the alleged perpetrator.You stated that "Muslims hate the decadence of Western civilization and vice versa with the West." Is it the "people they hate, or the idea of freedom and democracy.On the sid of the west,can they see the suffering and desolation of the real citizens of the Middle East. The extremists make up a tiny faction of the whole. Nephi makes a great description of the adversary, as one most miserable and would have all men like himself. Hopeless.

Matthew 5:38-45
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

I have read these scriptures my entire life, and I can remember thinking that these were hard requests. It has only been recently that these are commandments.

I may be speaking out of context, but the problems of the world are big, and won't be solved anytime soon. I don't know if we as individuals can effect a change in the "demeanor" of evil, but our calling in this church is to "consecrate ourselves to God, and to endeavor to become a Zion people". Having all things in common, loving everyone as we love ourselves even our own families and friends. Are we there yet? But what is our exceedingly great reward, for obedience and long suffering? The Lord will not heap burdens upon us more than we can bear.
Matthew 5:9
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for brighteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Romans 12:19-21
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay", says the Lord.
20 Therefore“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We are a light that shines on a hill.
Thank you