Today’s Reading: Helaman 1:20-34, 2: 1-14
2:8 And when the servant of Helaman had known all the heart of Kishkumen, and how that it was his object to murder, and also that it was the object of all those who belonged to his band to murder, and to rob, and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan, and their combination) the servant of Helaman said unto Kishkumen: Let us go forth unto the judgment-seat.
If there is one name in the Book of Mormon that makes me cringe it is that of Gadianton. How many times have I sat in a Sunday School class where the Gadianton Robbers have been discussed? I cannot recall the exact number, but I know it’s a big one. This group of vicious, cunning and evil men stands as a symbol for Satan’s subtle plan of destruction.
“Satan also has a plan. It is a cunning, evil, subtle plan of destruction. It is his objective to take captive the children of Father in Heaven and with every possible means frustrate the great plan of happiness.” -Richard G. Scott [i]
Man, have I had times when he has frustrated my personal plan of destruction! Not cool, Satan. Not cool.
However, as I have pondered about what I could learn from the many times I have read about or discussed the Gadianton Robbers, I had an interesting thought pop into my head. (Otherwise known as inspiration from the Holy Ghost. Yes. I love being tutored by the spirit. Bring it on.)
What if sometimes I create my own secret combinations within my very own heart? Have I ever had moments where my thoughts and/or actions have caused the destruction of peace in my surroundings? Wait. What? Well, that’s not where I expected this inspiration to take me. Surely I cannot be in the same category as the Gadianton Robbers, can I? Well, yes and no. Fortunately I have never had my object be to murder anyone (Helamn 2:8) and I have never been tempted to rob anyone…of their physical possessions anyway. But how many times have I robbed someone of joy because I was acting selfish and bitter? How many times have I sought to take power over a situation when it would have been better to listen and love instead?
One particular and familiar situation comes to mind. I have a daughter who is like me in more ways than one and we struggle some days to understand each other and have healthy communication. Which, quite frankly, I don’t understand. You would think that I could get along with myself! Alas, some days, I cannot and the fireworks erupt. In the many hours that I have spent in prayer trying to learn how to be a better mother to her, I have been taught over and over again that sometimes I need to just be quiet and listen. Sometimes this sweet, independent and beautiful daughter of God just needs a sounding board. Someone who will let her vent and not try to “fix” all of the flaws that I see in her 12-year-old logic. So why can’t I just follow this piece of advice that has been gently placed in my brain so many times? It’s because I have created this secret combination in which I feel I need to take power of the situation because I am the mom. I am the one who knows best. But you see, this is where my 38-year-old logic is wrong. I am not the one who knows best. My Father in Heaven does and He is trying to get me to see the bigger picture here. Yes, I am the mom and yes, it is my job to help, love, and teach my daughter. But sometimes it is my job to just listen. After all, isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does best when we cry out to Him?
I think I will start paying more attention to the spirit when he gently tugs at my spirit and says, “It’s not the time to teach with power. Now is the time to teach with a listening ear and a loving heart.”