14 January 2008

Burying The Sword

I was chatting with a friend the other day about some difficulties he is going through right now. He let me know that on the bright side of it all, he had read his scriptures that day (the first time in quite a while I think). I asked him what he read, and his response was the section in the Book of Mormon where the Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury their swords and make a covenant never to shed blood again, not even to defend themselves.

My response to him was, "So what sword are you going to bury?"

Interesting. I had never thought of that analogy before that very moment. I have always read this passage of scripture and taken it at face value - that of being a peacemaker and refusing to take up arms and shed blood. But at that very moment, I thought of how symbolic that story could be.

Here were these people who were the worst of the worst for being iniquitous and bloodthirsty. They were all converted to the Lord, and would not "take up arms against their brethren," (Alma 24:6) who were at that moment preparing to come to war against them. Lamoni was their king, and even commanded them not to prepare for the ensuing war. They had been in a fallen state and through much travail had received the light of redemption. They felt those sweet whisperings of peace that confirm your forgiveness from sin and transgression. They felt the love of God - which "is the most desirable above all things" (1 Ne. 11:22). They knew what God's love was and it flooded their souls to the point that they felt it for every other person and would not raise the sword against them. They saw what the greatest sin was in their previous lives and buried it in the earth - even if it were to cost them their own lives.

I think that this embodies the whole concept of forsaking your sins when you repent. You take that thing that has been such a major tool in your life, a major part of your person, and realize that sword is not glorious. It is destroying not only those who are slain with it, but also he who wields it. To forsake it, to receive forgiveness, it must be buried deep within the earth, never to be used again. It can't be just put away in the closet, or stashed under a rug. A pit must be dug to completely consume the rusting appendage and remove it completely from your life.

These people opened up their hearts to the message of the gospel, the felt God's love, and they buried their swords. And who can deny that they all returned to the presence of God and were able to look upon Him, without shame, when reporting on their life's deeds.

So, to quote the great movie, The Princess Bride, Drop your sword.

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