Thursday, April 5, 2012

Learning More About Mercy

Last week, I listened to an address entitled, The Laborers in the Vineyard by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  He is a speaker I always enjoy so I sat up in anticipation as he took to the pulpit.  The talk was stellar.  I did not expect to chastened.

It was a masterful interpretation of one of our Savior's parables.  I won't try to explain what was said, I'll let you watch it yourself, but I will tell you that I was struck, as if hit between the eyes, by this statement:
We consume such precious emotional and spiritual capital clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck in a childhood piano recital...
This. is. me.  While I worry somewhat about things that cause most people worry, I have found it impossible to let go of my own stupidity, immaturity, or plain old mistakes.  I still flush over the thought of, not necessarily the discordant note at a childhood piano recital, but certainly its equal.  Not only that, but I also stew over decisions that were made and set in stone.  Most of the time, they can't be undone, but still I analyze myself sick.

A little later, another speaker, Elder Uchtdorf, gave an address entitled, The Merciful Obtain Mercy.  In it he said, 
When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.
While I am nowhere near perfect in the matter of forgiveness, I generally forgive others fairly easily.  In the case of mercy, it isn't generally too much of a challenge for me to offer mercy, it fact it brings me great joy to be merciful . . . to everyone else.  

Is Christ pleased with the mercy I've shown myself?  Is He happy with the way I'm spending my precious emotional and spiritual capital?  

No!  Our Savior who suffered so much so that he could more fully offer mercy, is not pleased!  If I have repented of a sin or, in humility, admitted a mistake, I need to stop beating myself up and show mercy to myself in the way I so easily offer it to others.

Yesterday, after making another controversial decision, my husband demanded that we not worry about it any more.  He said, "We've done enough worrying.  We felt good about the decision, we made it and it is done."  It was such a burden off my back!  Yes, it is the right decision for our family 

and I have vowed to stop wasting my emotional and spiritual capital.


  1. Elder Holland was fabulous, fast becoming up there with Neal A. Maxwell for me, I too was struck by the "spiritual capital" I waste on unforgiving attitudes. I also learned from the conference a lot more chastening about just simply showing love and mercy and non-judgement. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this post Emily! I am very much the same way.. in fact I refer to the stupid things I have said/ done in my life as "the book." I open that book way too often... reminding myself of, for example, the time I said yes to two dates on the same night... oh there I go opening it. Your blog always inpsires me. Thanks!
    Mary Fox

  3. I too enjoyed his talk. I always have liked his work. Straight and to the point. And the hardest person to forgive is always ourselves. Wonder why that is? Maybe that is something I should keep in mind when I find myself wanting to "judge" others. I will never be as hard on them (in my mind) than they will be on themselves during the quiet moments in the night. We always seem to remember our faults and miss-steps much, much, longer than anyone else will. I take great comfort in the words of our prophets.