Burying My Sword
Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Posted in Devotional
The other day, I re-read the story of the Anti-Nephi Lehis (great name!), and one of the morals really hit me.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehis were originally Lamanites (wicked guys). The freshly converted four sons of Mosiah embarked on an epic missionary trip to convert them.
Some of the Lamanites believed the gospel, and their change of heart was so huge that they decided to change their name to the Anti-Nephi-Lehis (Alma 23:17). In scripture, it's common for a name change to serve as a symbol for a dramatic conversion (Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Saul/Paul, Simon/Peter).
And, boy, was it dramatic.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehis were brand new believers, but they were living in a land surrounded by other Lamanites who did not believe in God or Christ. And the unbelievers decided to attack them.
I don't know about you, but I can relate. Sometimes I feel like I'm surrounded by people who just don't understand what I believe — and, many times, I feel like I'm under fire.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehis had a choice. They could fight back in self-defense and kill their brethren, but in doing so, they knew they'd be sending their brethren to hell (most likely). The Anti-Nephi-Lehis couldn't live with that.
In Alma 24, they basically say, "Look, we used to be super wicked. We committed all sorts of murders. We're not doing that anymore. It was all we could do to repent and receive forgiveness. Our swords are clean now. We're not going to bloody them again."
Wow! Talk about courage.
There are times when I'm tempted to go back to the "old Michelle" and the things she used to do. Sometimes I have to tell myself, "Hey! You're a new creature, and you don't talk like that anymore." "You don't dress like that anymore." "You don't watch those sorts of movies anymore."
It's not about wagging a big fat finger or killing life's fun. It's remembering that I was in slavery to stuff like that before, and now I'm free, and there's no way I'm going back.
It says that when the Anti-Nephi-Lehis "were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm" (Alma 24:19). Ooh, I love that! I was just talking with someone the other day about how our generation can be so wishy washy.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehis didn't crumble under the pressure. In fact, they buried their weapons of war as a symbol that they wouldn't go back to their murderous ways.
So, I ask myself, "What do I need to bury?" What are the things that keep me from progressing in my relationship with God? Why do I let them hang around? Why do I allow them in my house? In my heart? I want to remove them far, far away and be done with them. Move on. Grow!
What do I need to bury today?
So often, there's that seducing voice from the world that coos, "Be like us." But I want to cling to the small but reassuring voice that whispers, "Be like me." When I have a clear mental picture of how much forgiveness I've received and the price Christ paid for it, I get the motivation I need to stay on the path.
For the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, it meant burying their swords. For their sons, the 2,000 stripling warriors, it meant taking them up. What does it mean for you and me today?
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
Words of Mormon, Mosiah 1
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