29 June 2022

"Return unto me and I will return unto you,..."

I might get the reputation of highlighting the hard Christ, the one who promises punishments for disobedience.  I do this because of the constant stream of platitudes from many, many popular sources that "God loves you the way you are" and the rejection of commandments and essential ordinances and repentance in favor of a supposed Christ's overarching desire to put aside everything he ever said and taught in favor of being oh-so-loving to everyone. If I were your only source for information on the Messiah, you might see him as a pretty hard taskmaster - I just feel this deep need to provide the better-documented (in scripture) counterpoint!

Here is a wonderful snippet to help you know that you don't have to be in the "hard" Savior's "doghouse" forever: 

3 Nephi 24 and Malachi 3

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?

This again is Christ Himself quoting Malachi because it was important for his followers in America to have this information.  That means that it must be of supreme importance to the Lord and to our allegiance to him.

If you don't feel as if Christ is a part of your life or you don't feel that you are having the spiritual experiences that he promised to send you through the Holy Ghost, it is because you have distanced yourself from him ("gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them"). The way to resolve this lack of spiritual feeling and guidance is to "Return to me (Jesus)".  In the following verses, Jesus quotes the searing accusation that people rob God by not paying the commanded tithing as an example of how one can "return".  I choose to leave that concept aside for now, as I want to appeal to the folks that want the sweet and kindly Christ that can be found in a "properly interpreted" Bible (wink, wink).

Christ is always willing to get closer to us, but better proximity is always on the condition of repentance or change. It may be true that "God loves you the way you are", but it seems that his better presence and closer attention to your needs may be based on our striving to be a bit better than "the way you are".

I'm just restating the words of Christ himself - I hope that is not too "un-loving" for you dear readers!