Monday, July 27, 2015

MM: Obedience

I've been thinking about obedience lately.

I feel like at one point, obedience was a positive thing. Now, when people hear the word obedience, it seems to spark negative emotions, even in my own mind.

When I thought about obedience the other night, immediately thoughts like, "I don't want people to tell me what to do," "I'm my own person," and "I don't want to follow 'the man'" (I've been watching too much Kim Possible lately) came into my mind.

I was kind of surprised, because I thought I knew how important obedience was.

I read something interesting the other day about teaching our children to be obedient. It said something that said, "If we don't teach the importance of obedience in the home, how will our children understand it in school, in the workplace, or in their relationship to God?"

It really made me think. We're trying to teach Kevin to be obedient, and sometimes it's difficult. The language barrier can be difficult at times. However, we're trying and he often does what we ask him to do.

I was discussing this with Grig, and how important I feel that obedience is, and he said that it reminded him of The Jungle Book (the book, not the movie).

In the story, Akela, the leader of the wolf pack, has long led the wolves and taught them the law of the jungle. As he ages and grows weaker, Shere Khan infiltrates the pack and begins to lead the young wolves astray. He teaches them to break the laws and hold them in contempt.

Grig commented on how the pack was unified and safe while they followed and obeyed the laws, but once the youth became disobedient, the pack structure fell apart, and they became less than wolves. At that point, they stopped being the "Free People," and became subject to the will of Mowgli, who was stronger than them.

I thought that was a great allegory.

Obedience is so important in the Lord's work. If we obey a commandment that He gives us, He promises us certain blessings, and God cannot lie. The timing is His, but the blessings will come. Obedience is being willing to do another's will. God can do anything, but He will not force us to follow Him.

When any law is established, man-made or otherwise, there are certain consequences that go with that law. Breaking the law (or commandment) brings consequences. We all have the freedom to choose if we will obey the law, but we do not have the freedom to choose our consequence. There are set penalties for certain laws, and most often, they are not negotiable.

For some reason, obedience has become a curse word. No one wants others to think they are 'obedient.' Inwardly we say, "But I want my children to be free-thinkers. I don't want them held within the bounds of society!"

I had never realized it before, but isn't that a terrible thing to say? The laws and rules of society keep us safe and protect the rights of those around us. As our own desires become more important that the desires of society and the good of society, we begin to hold the laws of the land in contempt, and like the pack of Akela, our order and structure begins to crumble.

Even if you don't believe in God, laws are important. They are the things that keep us safe, for without laws, there are no consequences, whether good or bad. In 2 Nephi 2:13 it says:
 13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
I know that obedience is important. We are doing our best to teach Kevin obedience to us, and to the Lord's laws.

My own father taught me an important lesson when I was young. I was doing my driving time to earn my driver's license and I was going 5 above the speed limit. When he asked me why I was driving that fast, I said something like, "Everyone goes that fast, it's okay."

He then told me that it wasn't okay to break the law, even by just a little bit. For some reason, that really stuck with me, and I have tried to do my best to keep the speed limit with exactness. (Sometimes, I'm not paying attention, and it climbs, but I do my best.)

Yes, I'm the annoying person who goes exactly the speed-limit. I've been pulled over for other things, but I've never gotten a ticket. I know this is a blessing because I am doing my best to follow the laws of the land.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Article of Faith 1:12)
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
Our church does not promote rebellion to laws. Instead, it teaches us to do our best to keep the laws in whatever country we may find ourselves. By our example of obedience, we have been able to touch many more hearts that if we were rebelling and fighting our leaders.

I'm definitely not perfect, but I do my best to be obedient to the laws and commandments I know. I tried to be an obedient student, an obedient employee, and an obedient daughter. Sometimes I succeeded better than other times (especially in the daughter role). However, I do have a testimony of the blessings of obedience. Obedience is not a bad thing. It is a blessing, and one that we should delight in.

How else can we show the Lord that we love Him and how dedicated we are to Him?
Link to Site where I got this picture

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