A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Contention is Not of Me

This morning our family had a discussion on repentance and the importance of it. We identified a few commandments and laws of God that we are aware of, but fail to obey.

Later this morning as I was pondering, I realized that I personally know at least one well-known law of God that I have carelessly rejected. In this particular case, I have ignored it, pushed it off to the side, and refused to obey God in this issue.

As a young child, I thought teasing my brothers and sister was fun and entertaining. A poke here, a push there seemed to bring some sort of satisfaction. As an adult, I’ve had the same weakness with my children.

It would begin in play, move on to teasing, and usually go too far, leaving a wake of confusion and contention. Of course, the teasing was all in fun. For some strange reason, I liked getting a reaction. I would receive a false payoff sufficient to entice me to tease again later.

My parents taught me well, and I received consequences for teasing siblings. Jennifer, my wife, counseled me to stop “stirring the pot” at home, cease such foolish behavior, and invite peace rather than contention.

Jesus taught: “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:29-30)

In spite of being taught by good parents, encouraged by a loving wife, and commanded by God Himself, I still continued to tease. I had not sufficiently reflected about the contention I was promoting and the evil effects that I was passing on to my children. Being free from the habit and sin did not appear important enough to me to abandon it and sacrifice the tendency.

Until today, I had not yet resolved to stop, cease, quit, change, and repent by making a 180-degree turn-around, turn away from sin and face God. Now, consequences, guilt, and remorse have sufficiently pierced my soul to get my attention.

I feel a change of heart in regard to my agitating actions that promote feelings of anger and contention. I feel a hope and a desire to repent. I recognize the tremendous value in not “looking back” and never “stirring the pot” again.

It feels liberating just to think about it and to believe that my Savior is there for me. In John 14:6, Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Christ is capable and willing to help me overcome both sin and death, neither of which can I do alone. He has paid the price for me, and only through Him are my sins forgiven and death overcome. Only through Him can I be redeemed from the fall and return to the presence of the Father.

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