Friday, December 13, 2013

The Character of Christ

Act in Doctrine, a marvelous book by Mormon apostle David A. Bednar, discusses the character of Christ in beautiful terms.  He outlines much of the Lord Jesus Christ's actions and life, and highlights one particular example of the Lord's character that is especially striking.  Let us consider the moment in the garden of Gethsemane when the Lord has just finished praying, sweating great drops of blood from every pore and has just been betrayed by one of His disciples.  In that state of personal agony He turns from Himself to one in the company of accusers and heals his smitten ear.  As Bednar beautifully says, "The Savior used His supernal powers to restore the guard's ear - a demonstration of His divinity He never would employ for Himself." (Bednar, 13)

Were we in that situation, Bednar muses, would we be interested in the comparatively petty anguish of someone else or would be filled with self pity and wondering if anyone cared about what we were trying so desperately to do?  It was part of the Lord's character that He turned outward in service regardless of His own physical and spiritual pain.  If we are to come to know Him, Bednar says, we need to learn to behave like Him. 

When we are angry, stressed, hurt, or saddened do we sink into a pity party all our own, or do we turn outward to serve others?  I have employed this concept in my own life and found something truly remarkable about it.  When we turn outward, the anguish of our own wounds lessen considerably.  It may not make everything perfect but we become more capable and we have the aid of heaven in our good deeds and in our personal lives.  I know that this is a powerful way to get to know the Savior, to come closer to Him, and to feel His influence more powerfully in our lives.  Let us remember in our haste this Christmas to turn from our own agendas outward and to the Savior Himself.