Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two Topics

A brief, linkless post tonight - really just some stray thoughts on two topics relevant to some lessons in church today.

First, for Sunday School, we have been attending a special Marriage & Family Relations course (taught by my friend Ryan). Today we talked about unity in marriage. My wife and I were asked to prepare, in advance, some lists of complementary attributes of each other, and answer a couple of related questions. Each of us came up with a short list of our own strengths, and a long list of qualities of the other person.

One of the most important attributes, I think, is that neither of us stays angry for very long at all - we're both very quick to forgive and don't hold grudges. This is critical. There may be only twice in over seven years together that we've gone to bed with a issue unresolved. Usually, a spat doesn't last more than a few minutes, and is never really very intense at all. I really believe this willingness to forgive - to see the other's point of view and put one's self aside, to truly FORGIVE and be selfless - is key to a lasting, healthy, HAPPY marriage.

The other topic was something from our Elders Quorum lesson, which was about the priesthood. It was mentioned that the priesthood is often referred to in military terms - we are an "army," we "battle the forces of evil," or we are "enlisted" until this great war is over. We are soldiers, we go on missions, we put on the full armor of God. These are indeed apt metaphors.

It seems to me that people are generally conflict-averse. Nobody really likes to fight. Everybody hates war. And I think that's why we, as a society, often live in a state of denial regarding conflict. (Case in point: Iran has been at war with the U.S. since 1979, killing many U.S. soldiers and civilians through various attacks - the taking of hostages, bombings of military and civilian targets, and proxy war-mongering through terror cells. They have done nothing to hide their feelings and intentions - in fact they state outright that they desire our destruction. Yet so many in America still fail to acknowledge the reality of this war.)

Likewise, another war rages in the world - one that many fail to acknowledge. It's a war that started before any human was ever born. I speak of the Great War in Heaven, in which we all fought on the same side, and after "Round One" of which, one third of the host of heaven were expelled. It continues today, right here, right now - every day, and for every person on Earth.

We are indeed soldiers, enlisted in that war. The original War in Heaven was more a war of words, ideas, and influence. The same is largely true today, only there has been a physical component added to it. But the spoils remain the same: it's a battle for the souls of men.

When you enlist in the Army, you're trained and provided with some tools - weapons. Soldiers in this Great War are trained in families, brought up with correct principles, taught to know right from wrong, and to choose the right. The priesthood is the tool we (men) are equipped with to fight this war. It's like some kind of uber-machine gun that can do anything from heal a loved one's headache to move mountains. Unlike fighting fire with fire, the priesthood fights hate with love, selfishness with service, and darkness and evil with light and righteousness. And it's more powerful, when wielded worthily, than any opposing force.

The work of God will not be stopped. Love and light and good will prevail. Let us always remember that the enemy never rests, and we cannot afford to, either. We ARE all enlisted until the conflict is over.

And happy are we.

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