How can the truth be both blunt and sharp at the same time? How can it be the hardest thing to hear and yet the only thing that is going to save your life? And how do you get the courage to admit that kind of two-edged truth to yourself and to others? Only from God, Himself.
One day, I was crying out to the Lord to help me face the truth Benjamin spoke so scathingly, so unsparingly. After admitting that he himself was “subject to all manner of infirmities both in body and mind” (Mosiah 2:11), Benjamin goes on to use words to refer to the rest of us like: unprofitable servants… Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth (Mosiah 2:25) … a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state (Mosiah 4:5)… unworthy creatures (Mosiah 4:11)… For behold, are we not all beggars? (Mosiah 4:19)
How could I believe that? Wouldn’t labeling myself as “nothing” damage my already faltering self-esteem? Wasn’t I supposed to pull myself up and carry on across the proverbial plains, fueled by my own faith and determination? Hadn’t I been told to never give up, to endure to the end?
I clung tenaciously to the “up-by-my-own-bootstraps” mind-set, even though it kept me sick to my stomach with strife and the fear of failing. All that fearful striving only sets me up to stumble and fail that much more. It’s like trying to take a timed test with the teacher standing at your elbow watching your every move! I couldn’t do it!
Finally the day came when I couldn’t deal with the constant awareness of my own failure and I put my head down on my desk and cried, expecting to be shamed right out of the classroom—right off the planet.
The day I admitted Benjamin’s words fit me to a tee was the day I resigned from that “boot-straps” mentality. The day I finally faced the truth of my own nothingness without Christ’s daily—sometimes hourly—dispensation of grace (power) to slog on through my life (endure to the end), was the day I finally began to feel lasting peace.
Rather than being detrimental to my self-esteem, King Benjamin’s blunt estimation of me was exactly the truth I needed to embrace. It pierced my heart and brought me to the loving arms of my Savior.
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