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Friday, September 9, 2011

Ruled By Hatred

I used to be, ya know.  I used to be ruled by hatred.  Did you know that?  Could you tell?  Try reading a post from 2008.  Could you tell that I was full of hatred?

Well, I reviewed some posts from back then and I couldn't find one that really revealed much of that part of my heart.  "In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrows that the eye can't see..."  That's a line from 'Because I Have Been Given Much,' which in our Hymnal is song 219 (because of copyright that song is not avaiable to listen to via the music portion of http://lds.org/).   It's a lovely song!  I think that was the first one we memorized in the beginning of doring devotionals last October.  I guess, even though I was significantly louder a person back then, I kept my hard heart deeply hidden and very quiet.

So, since it's not terribly visible or apparent... do you want to know what I hated?  To give myself some credit, I think I was already making SOME good progress in regard to this subject by 2008... but from my point of view now, I can see myself so much more clearly and I see how I was still strugling with hatred heavy in my heart.

Since this post is, initially, about being ruled by hatred, I'm gunna tell ya what I hated!  First of all, I hated just about everyone and anyone.  Not in an all-consuming rolling-boil sort of way... but in a simmering sort of way.  I was, in truth, waiting to take offense to just about everything.  In October of 2006 I listened to General Conference.  Along with anyone else who listened to that Conference, I heard a particular talk by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twleve Apostles entitled: 'And Nothing Shall Offend Them' .  That talk began the process of a tremendous change of heart in me, of which I enjoy many fruits today.  I still have much progress to make, but I'm becoming a new woman and, in many ways, AM a new woman already.  I continue to try to change daily, of course.  I feel like the big changes in me... in my effort to be New, began as a result of this talk.  I feel it has truly played a pivotal role in my life.

Why did I hate everyone and anyone?  Well... because, at the bottom of all the reasons I could tell you #1 I didn't like me... I didn't LOVE me... in fact, I probably truly hated me!  #2 I was full of pride (an unwillingness to forgive pains inflicted by others is prideful).  My unwillingness to change and become as Christ is, is a clear indicator of the Pride I had.  Pride has many MANY guises!  It is the root of all evil, afterall.

Hatred, like all the other tools of the deceiver (fear, envy, pride, anger, etc), binds the one feeling the emotion he has inspired.  Initially the bonds are as flaxen cords.  But over time the flaxen cords, because there are so many, bind as surely as the heaviest chains.  They can become as a cocoon around a developing butterfly... but in this analogy, the bonds of the deceivers tools do not enable metamorphosis into something beautiful as a butterfly, but rather, starve the Soul and bring about eventual spiritual death of the kind that cannot be redeemed.

From within the binding (having been in hatred myself; and still struggling to cut some bonds of one of the evils I used to be consumed by, but still struggle with) it is nigh on impossible to see how to stop the cycle of what we're caught within.  "I'm caught, this is a closed cocoon!  There's no hope for me.  Why bother?"  These are thoughts I had and I felt the related feelings, too.  But I'm not caught in hatred anymore.  And if I can get out of the closed room (locked from outside), I guarantee you: Anyone Can!

How did I do it?  The short answer: I did it in and through Christ Jesus and His Redemption brought about by His Atonement which He has already completed for each of us who will believe on His name: have Faith in Him, confess/repent, and be baptized!

Yes... that IS actually the short answer!  ^_^

Want more details?  If I were you, I would.  Thus I share: I tried by praying for the ability to keep trying.  That's how I started.  And then I kept trying.  :)  I fell more times than I can count.  But I kept getting up and kept praying for support to change.

The greatest leaps forward came when I focused more on myself... not the selfish kind of way that the World declares is important... the, "I need ME time!" kind of way....  But, rather, the kind of focus on "me" that the Lord prescribes.  I spent time by myself (usually after everyone else was asleep) to be in prayer.  I was guided to record my prayers.  And I have to tell you, I LOVE those journals!!!!!  It has been absolutely a blessing to me and my life that I followed the promptings to write down impressions, images, and eventually words and sentences that I perceived the Lord whisper to my mind and heart.... I have great hope that all, but especially my prayer journals will bless the lives of my progeny.  God willing!

I've always told the Lord I love Him when I pray.  But one time, after I'd been praying with my journal - writing what I said and writing what was said back to me... I felt unable to continue after I told Father God that I loved Him.  And so, since I couldn't think of anything else to say, I waited in listening mode.  The response was FULL of pure LOVE!!!!  I realized, as I wrote down what the Lord would have me know about His Love for me that I'd never waited to hear what He had to say on this subject because I didn't think I was worthy of it.  I didn't want to know that He Loved me because I didn't love me and so I thought, "How could HE!??"  But that time I listened... and at the time that I listened, I was only in acceptance of myself.  I did not actually LOVE me.  I do now, though!!!  If He does, how can I NOT??  Am I greater than He?  Do I know more than He knows?  No.  Surely not.  So I must love me!!

The same realization has come about the rest of my fellow brothers and sisters on this planet.  HE Loves them the SAME way He loves me.  And what... do I know more than He?  Should I not love them as He Loves them?  If He loves me... and I KNOW me and how unworthy of His love I am... then I must MUST must Love others!!!  (and I feel this "must" in a joyous and rejoicing way!)

Another thing that has enabled me to come to peace and FEEL the Love of God for others (even those who hate me, hurt me, speak unkindly about me, etc) is the profound realization I experienced of the truths I've sung repeatedly throughout my life in 'I Am a Child of God'.  I had a sacred experience in which I saw the truth of this principle... this song... the truth of God's Love... and as a result I know the truth.  I know that I am a part of God, that you are, that we all are.  And if I profess to Love HIM, I must... I just MUST love me and you and everyone else, too!

So, in my weakness, the Lord has made me strong.  I was once ruled by hatred.  Now I am filled with Love.  I'm not perfect in this area (nor any area) yet, but I have Faith that I can become perfect in and through Christ Jesus.  I know that I will not be perfect in all things and in all ways so long as I reside in this tabernacle of clay... BUT I can become perfect in small (yet large) principles like this one.  I pray you may come to know and understand these things AND MORE!  I pray that you may be filled with the knowledge of how the Lord our Father God and His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer Love YOU!  Amen.

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