Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stand on high ground, And don't go down, not even a little

Very often in life we find all kinds of reasons not to make a stand.  I mean there are all kinds of reasons to be wishy washy and to determine that making a stand in one area or on one particular issue will be a bother to us and our friends.  Some people will misunderstand our stand, others will quit their association with us, or others will laugh at us and still others may hate us.  All of that can be hard to deal with.  We care about what other people think.  We also care about what other people do and sometimes we follow them.  Recognizing our desire to be like others should help us know that some of them will want to be like us and will follow our example if we declare our standard.

It shouldn't be surprising that we get tempted to be weak and not make a definitive decision about standards.  If we won't make the decision in advance then maybe we'll waver under the heat and stress of the moment.  Sometimes we decide to keep the standard in our mind but don't tell others about it.  Kind of like keeping a standard secretly.  When our friends and associates don't know we have a standard then they assume we are much like them and will invite and encourage us without thinking about it to break that standard.  It is because our standards are so different from the world that this issue is a big deal.  Eventually the tire must hit the road however, and we have to act on our standard or not.  There are many weakening tactics to get us from proclaiming or being a living example of the standards.  Satan uses them all.  Embarrassment and concern with being accepted socially are two of the biggest.  When we do not declare our standards then ultimately it can be like having no standards at all--at least none different than the rest of the world.

In life many of our standards are like snap together furniture:  Most if not all standards rest on and are supported by other standards.  If one is weak then others are weak too.  If one falls then then most or all of it falls.  If one doesn't exist in our life then other standards literally don't have a leg to stand on, or in other words don't make sense or have meaning.  Our standards need to be linked together to keep each of them strong, stable and standing tall.  In addition when we 'link' with others who have similar standards then each of us becomes stronger resulting in the advice to associate with others that have similar high standards.  Ultimately the standards are there to protect us from harm. 

When we link with others we make us all stronger.  "This people have got to become of one heart and one mind.  They have to know the will of God and do it, for to know the will of God is one thing, and to bring our wills, our dispositions, into subjection to that which we do understand to be the will of God is another" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 221).
 Consequently we get talks from General Authorities encouraging us to make a stand.  We read about those who did take stands in the Bible, Book or Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants.  When we make a stand for standards then we are standing for Christ and against Lucifer.  So it is no surprise that we get tempted, embarrassed and hurt in an effort to keep us from making that stand.  Satan would prefer we don't draw that line in the sand, so to speak, designating what we will and will not do. 


In the Book of Mormon we read about a story of Lehonti who protects himself and his troops on the top of the hill or mountain.  Amalikiah comes with an army to take them.  He sends envoys up the mountain asking   Lehonti three times to come down.  Lehonti refuses.  Finally Amalikiah comes up the hill.  If the story stopped there it would look like Lehonti's example helped Amalikiah be a better man.  Except Amalikiah doesn't come all the way up, but close and then asks Lehonti to come down just a little.  Lehonti falls for that and eventually loses his life and the safety of those with whom he was responsible because of that seemingly minor reduction in his standard.  Lehonti thought he was in control with his guards when he went down just a little.  But that was enough for Amalikiah to put his plan into motion for Lehonti to lose everything.  

This reminds me of Karl G. Maeser, the founder of what is today Brigham Young University, who memorably taught his students concerning honor. "I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls — walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground — there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I'd die first."  Lehonti was a great guy.  He did a lot right but ultimately he went down from his lofty position just a little and that was enough to trap him.  Similarly we can be trapped and hurt if we cross the line of honor, the standards, the line drawn in the sand. 

As Elder D. Todd Christofferson said in October 2010 Conference: "To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes.  True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives--that is our time and choices--to God's purposes.  In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny." That's what I want, my "highest destiny". 

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