While listening to General Conference today the thought came to mind to go through the scriptures looking for examples of repentance. Why? I've discovered a couple different approaches to interpreting scripture stories that are a little incongruent with each other. One is focused on the law of mercy--on charity and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the other on the law of justice--obey and be blessed, disobey and be punished. Wow, what a difference it makes the way you approach the scriptures!
The prophet Moroni specifically counsels us to focus on God's mercy while pondering the scriptures. "Behold," says he, "I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts" (Moroni 10:3).
In essence, Moroni is telling us to focus on what the scripture stories teach us about charity and the atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Lord himself counsels us in other verses to judge not but to forgive, until 70 times seven (Matthew 18:22). "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged," says He,
"and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matthew 7:1; Nephi 14:1-2).
The thing is, the restored gospel is centered on the atonement of Jesus Christ--that is where the joy of the gospel is, through experiencing it ourselves and helping others to experience it. It does not come from escaping repentance through 'righteous' living. To feel joy, no one can escape the atonement, not even Christ. His own fulness of joy was only made possible through his atonement for the sins of man (in essence, his charity), though he was perfectly obedient.
Therefore, if we do well, or if we do evil, our joy is always dependent on the atonement of Jesus Christ. His atonement is the epitome of love; it is a combination of the first and great commandment, and the second like unto it. If we are to experience this joy we must not condemn ourselves or others (living or deceased)--for whatever reason, even for the cause of being wrongfully judged ourselves. Says Mother Theresa, "If you judge people you have no room to love them," or to help them, or yourself I would add.
Below are some videos that touched me about charity versus judgment. The first is about charity and loyalty--the loyalty he expects of those who love Him. The other two deal with judgment. I hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful week everyone <3 May it be full of joy <3
The First and Great Commandment, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Charity Never Faileth, by President Thomas S. Monson
Removing Poison of an Unforgiving Spirit, by H. Burke Peterson