Sermoncitos, a family tradition

Index Judging Others

The Atonement and Forgiveness

My heart has been tender all this week as I confronted the challenges of sickness and death, and misunderstandings and offenses. In the face of my shortcomings and disappointments I pondered the love my Savior has for me. We have personal grief when we lose a loved one. We also can grieve when we lose confidence in our personal relationships.

We all know that life is short and no one is perfect; why don’t we learn sooner to love and forgive each other? (Mathew 6:14). The consequences of not forgiving others are too great for anyone. (Matthew 6:15). Why don’t we learn to follow Jesus’s commandment to not judge one another?” (Matthew 7:1)

We have a Heavenly Father. Jesus is his literal son. Jesus Christ is the creator of heaven and earth, the Savior of all mankind, and the God of every nation on the earth. (John 3:16). Through the power of the Holy Ghost, this is my witness to you.

I know my Savior, who rose from the dead, can restore my body after I die. We are happier when we accept our dependence upon God. The Holy Messiah, layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise...” 2 Nephi 2:8.

We are nourished by the good word of God in life, our bodies rest in death, then we are restored in the resurrection. We need not doubt the reality of this resurrection, as there have been many witnesses. Jesus said to the people in Zarahemla, “arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the the prints of the nails in the hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14). The cycle of life seen in nature teaches me that life is renewed. That which withers and is buried in the frozen ground, comes back more glorious than ever.

Joe reminds me of my grandfather. He was born over one hundred twenty years ago in a remote mountain cabin with no villages or towns for many miles around. Like Joe Begay, he worked at a saw mill and for the railroad, and his life was altered by a world war. Joe reminds me of my father. Grandpa was born over 90 years ago in a log cabin. He lived in railroad cars and roamed about the desert with. His poverty and isolation were aggravated by religious persecution. The first funeral I ever attended was for my father's father in 1962. I did not know how to act or what to expect. I thought everyone would be sad and grieving, I was surprised that the relatives were glad to see each other and enjoyed the gathering. When I was called to the hospital to give Joe Begay a blessing I was surprised at the family gathering. Everyone came together to support one another. I have learned that no matter what our situation in life, we all need one another. When my father was ready to go, he left this world for the next, joyful at the prospects there.

My mother’s sister, Varena Lambert, lived a life of self sufficiency, resourcefulness, and service to others. Yet she, like my mother and my father’s sister, became dependent upon those she had served. It is true for all of us. If we live long enough, we don’t just become older and wiser, we become older and more dependent. If we are humble, we give others the chance to be of service and we learn to accept the interventions of others; we learn to be dependent as part of our preparation to meet our God.

Throughout history the Lord has relied upon the power of humility to bring His people back to Him. When Father Adam was cast out of the Garden of Eden into the lone and dreary world, it quickly became apparent to him that he needed to rely upon God for his survival. Let’s be humble like Father Adam and pray to God. Likewise, Noah learned to be humble and rely upon the Lord to be saved at the time of the Flood. Let’s be like Noah and obey God. The people of Jared humbled themselves at the Tower of Babel and were sustained and guided by the Lord. Let’s be like Jared and work hard to stay close to our families. King Benjamin worked for his own sustenance and reminded his people, “when you are in the service of your fellow being you are in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Let’s be like King Benjamin and do what we can for ourselves. We sympathize with Mary, who had the terrible burden of burying her son; but we are encouraged that she accepted the support of others, as Jesus on the cross commended her care to his beloved disciples. Let’s be like Mary, humble enough to accept what others have to offer us.

All through the Book of Mormon we read of the cycle of pride and humility: pride causing sin, and the inevitable suffering bringing about the humility that puts the people back in touch with the Spirit and in the service of others. Then the Spirit of God leads them on the straight and narrow path that leads to the Plan of Happiness. The greatest blessing of the Atonement of Christ is forgiveness. Christ has the power to cleanse us from our sins as we accept His intervention for us through faith (oodl™’), repentance (¡`daahdleeh), baptism (tº bee), and enduring to the end. “Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses... (Mosiah 26:31,32)

It is my testimony that God lives and that Jesus Christ, whose Atonement and Resurrection we celebrate each time we partake of the Sacrament, is our living Savior. I have received this powerful witness of the Spirit as I studied the Gospel and tried to live my covenants. I have learned by the Spirit that this is His church, led by living prophets, and endowed with power in the priesthood. I know that Christ lives and loves us all, Jesus éí Christ nilª áádóó Christ ayóó’áshó’ní. I know that our Heavenly Father loves all of His children. I know that he has given us a way to be happy. . We must love one another. (John 13:35).
Jesus Christ. Amen.