Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Limhi’s Drive to Understand

Something that is neat about King Limhi in the Book of Mosiah is that he a drive to understand why people do what they do.

We can see this when Limhi has first contact with Ammon as Ammon comes into the land.  Ammon broke some kind of security protocol Limhi had and yet Limhi doesn’t automatically kill him, he keeps him alive and asks him why he did what he did.

10 And now, I desire to know the cause whereby ye were so bold as to come near the walls of the city, when I, myself, was with my guards without the gate?
11 And now, for this cause have I suffered that ye should be preserved, that I might inquire of you, or else I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death. Ye are permitted to speak.
12 And now, when Ammon saw that he was permitted to speak, he went forth and bowed himself before the king; and rising again he said: O king, I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness; (Mosiah 7: 10-12)

We see another example of this when Limhi’s people bring the wounded Lamanite king to him.  Although his people want to kill the Lamanite king immediately, Limhi stops them because he wants to know why the Lamanite king broke his oath that he would not attack the Nephites.

13 And they took him and bound up his wounds, and brought him before Limhi, and said: Behold, here is the king of the Lamanites; he having received a wound has fallen among their dead, and they have left him; and behold, we have brought him before you; and now let us slay him.
14 But Limhi said unto them: Ye shall not slay him, but bring him hither that I may see him. And they brought him. And Limhi said unto him: What cause have ye to come up to war against my people? Behold, my people have not broken the oath that I made unto you; therefore, why should ye break the oath which ye made unto my people? (Mosiah 20:13-14)

Limhi seems to have the view that people generally have good reasons for what they do and sometimes they are very good ones.  He seems to have realized that one doesn’t take the trouble to find out what those reasons are, one misses important opportunities or important information.

Because Limhi took the trouble to listen to Ammon’s reasons for breaking security protocol—protocol that Ammon certainly didn’t know about—he learned that Ammon was from Zarahemla.   Because Limhi took the trouble to listen to the Lamanite king’s grievance against the Nephites, he was able to make peace.

Today let’s take the time to understand those who seem to intent on driving us crazy or offending us or misbehaving.  Maybe we’ll learn something helpful.