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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Be of Good... or not good (?) Comfort

When I was in my late teens, my brother Brian was a huge influence on me.  I remember one time when he was studying scriptures during breakfast shortly after his mission to Argentina, Brian mentioned Matthew 9:22 (I think that was the one, I could be wrong) where the Savior says "be of good comfort."  He elaborated out loud for a moment about the significance of that adjective in front of the word comfort, how it implies that there are bad kinds of comfort as well, perhaps things with which we should not be comfortable, as well as things with which we should be comfortable.

Even though that was one fleeting moment for less than a minute that morning during breakfast, it never left my mind.  I have pondered on it many times since. It leads me to think, "how many little fleeting moments or small comments or other communications have I put out there that have either made or broken someone's day, helped heal or ripped wider open a wound of some kind, or any other influence of high consequence to which may have been completely oblivious?"  It also leads me to think, "I am comfortable around and with Godly things or is there something with which I need to become more familiar and comfortable?  Are there some conversations, music, media or other people or things around which I am too comfortable or calloused towards?"  I firmly believe that everyone, without exception, should, at least periodically, do a real hard, in depth evaluation of themselves and be completely, candidly honest about where they are in respect to how comfortable they are and should be around the good and bad in the world.

My wife and I have been making what we feel is a good amount of spiritual progression in the last year and while we still have a long way to go, we feel that we have a clearer perspective of God's plan and the role and Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Accompanied with that has come a greater resolve to make changes in our lives for which we have been so blessed!  We have noticed that certain things have become easier to do (or not do).  We have felt a greater commitment to serve, to change our motives, habits and decisions in ways things that our pride or fear had previously prevented and have seen the resulting benefits from our Father in Heaven and our Savior.

Amid these changes, I have grown to look forward to the coming of our Savior with more excitement and have more faith in His power to protect and change us.  I have felt less fear and greater hope amid the calamities that surround us in the world today, mainly because I know what these events are signalling, especially considering the exponentially growing forces and glorious influence of Jesus Christ and His church around the world.

Of course, there will always be areas where I need to improve in this life.  As I was talking about these changes one day to my parents, my mom gave me a good reminder that, while it's a good thing to not allow ourselves to be fearful about the horrors happening around the world, we also have to be careful that we do not allow ourselves to become callused to them either.  We have to be careful that we do not develop and attitude of "Well the world is always getting better and worse and I just expect things to go wrong now anyways, so oh well. The Savior is always more powerful than evil so I'll not pay any attention to this."  While this kind of thinking is a good display of faith, it is not a good display of charity, pure Christ-like love.

Christ was the perfect example of faith in the face of danger, but He was also the perfect example of concern and love for those affected by the challenges of mortality in all cases.  To some, this may appear as a hard balance of perspective to achieve and, of course, it will always be easier for some than others, but the objective either way should be the same.

From the little habits of scripture study, using proper language in prayer, and defending our faith to the big things like paying tithing, keeping our hearts and minds chaste, and making temple attendance and family a regular focus, the level of comfort we feel with the good and the bad should always be improving.  We need to work to be comfortable, anxious for, familiar with and seek for those things which will bring us to know the Master better, obey more willingly, become more like Him and trust Him more completely; we also need to be less comfortable with violence, immorality, contention, grudges, gossip, irreverence, foul language, crude humor, dishonesty and anything else that does not invite us to "come unto Christ and be perfected in Him", even in their most subtle forms.