Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Very Small Helm



I learned a hard lesson this week. I unthinkingly hurt someone I love. It wasn't the first time, and I know it won't be the last, but it hit me over the head and stopped me dead in my tracks.

New Year or not, I've resolved to do better. I'm tempted to chisel James' words on a plaque:

"For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm...

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!...

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:1-10).


Clearly, I'm not yet a perfect person. But that's no excuse. These are still the most biting words of scriptural rebuke I've yet read, and the ones that speak to me most pointedly--"Amy, these things ought not so to be." They bring my flaws into sharp relief, and I am reminded yet again of how desperately I need the healing power and wholeness and grace that come only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's the only way I can have hope--only if I come to the Lord with my weaknesses, in humility, will He, by His infinite power, make those things strong (see Ether 12:27). Without that power, I will always be weak. But if I come unto Christ, I can be perfected in Him (Moroni 10:32-33). What a compelling promise! What a desperate need!

"O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day" (Alma 22:18).

Photo from the BBC.

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