Nov 7, 2011

Emotion and Assumptions

My beliefs have been attacked recently. My beliefs about the Lord Jesus Christ, my beliefs about the way I educate, and even my previous blog post :)

It has been a week full of thinking and pondering and reviewing. (That is a good thing)

As I was reading the scriptures this week I was pondering anew about disappointments, and sorrow and weakness, emotions and assumptions. I was reminded again how I have often pondered how Lehi could witness the future destruction of his home in Jerusalem and keep prophesying. How he could view in vision his oldest children rejecting the fruit of the tree of life and then continue teaching them the gospel. I would think he had some disappointments and sorrow. I have often pondered how Nephi could see the destruction of his people, of the entire civilization of the Nephites and keep going, keep preaching, keep giving. I would think he had some emotions and humbling. And this week I was impressed by Jacob in Second Nephi when it is revealed to him that the Messiah will be crucified. He goes on to say, "Cheer up your hearts." How can these men, these prophets, not be swayed by emotion and by assumptions, by their own fears and guilt's and weaknesses'? How can they seek and testify of truth when it is so hard to hear and obey.

Because they have put off the natural man and received the spirit of the Lord!

Unlike Lehi and Nephi and Jacob my first natural-man reaction to these attacks this week was to be emotional. To get upset, frustrated, cynical. My second natural-man reaction is to the lack of emotion; to have apathy for these people and their choices. Neither of these choices is correct. The answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Am I deceived in things that I do and say? Yes. We all are, we are all flawed, we all make poor choices, we all do things incorrectly, we all are selfish, we all sin....the people and prophets in the scriptures are great examples of this.

The problem here-in lies in the fact that when we are emotionally attached to an opinion or and idea we cannot seek truth. Truth seeking is done through the spirit of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord cannot help us seek truth when we are angry, dismayed, bitter, or in the throws of sorrow. Nor can the Spirit lead us to truth when we are lacking in charity for others, when our hearts have waxed cold, when we have sought dominion over others.

Another natural-man reaction to attack is to make assumptions. I can assume then that my neighbor must hate all Mormon's and view them as inherently evil since he believes that I am entirely incorrect in my beliefs about the Lord. I can assume that others are sleep deprived and have become bitter and biting in their opinions and blog posts, condemning others for a word. But actually I don't believe that any of these things are true. Assumptions are based on lies. They are based on truths that we tell ourselves. When we make assumptions about people, places or things they are based on our own limited knowledge, opinion and thoughts. Almost all...nope, I'm going to go with ALL assumptions are in some way false. They are false because they stop our seeking for truth. If I make an assumption about someone I have already chosen to believe who they are, what they are saying and their motivation behind what they are doing. Most likely I am wrong on all three counts. Again, the answer is to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord does not assume. He knows! He knows who I am. He knows what I intend to say. He knows my motivations behind the things I do. He also knows all of the other flawed humans around me. When I ask Him for His love and His charity I can know them also. I can seek for truth...truth about who people are and about their own character, but not if I am making assumptions. If I am making assumptions I have stopped seeking for truth. I have begun the path to fault finding, evil speaking and being offended for a word.

When I am emotional or making assumptions about someone it is a red flag for me that I am in the wrong spirit. When I feel defensive towards an idea or a thought or a person it is a red flag for me that there is something in my heart or mind that is not true.

Do I believe in a different Lord than my neighbor? Yes. He believes in the trinity, he believes in different attributes, character and purposes of God. Can I get emotionally upset and choose to dislike my neighbor, can I become hurt and offended and hide from my neighbor? Can I make assumptions that I have all truth and he has none? But none of these answers lead me to seek truth. Because REALLY we do believe in the same Lord. We believe in the Lord that answers our prayers, that directs us to do good, that leads us to find truth.

Do I have flawed education ideas? Yes. Some of the things I have done and believed and studied in my life have been false. Some people I have believed in and sought counsel from have been flawed, even dishonest. Can I become emotional, choose to be offended, seek retribution or retaliation? None of these answers leads me to seek truth. Because REALLY every human is dishonest, every man is flawed, every educational "ideal" has gaping holes and errors. I believe in seeking answers from the Lord, in following His counsels and guiding and in His ability to lead me and guide me to do good and to find truth.

Do I write blog posts that are deserving of attack? Yes. Although my husband said this I'm learning a lot about you from this read best sellers? you exercise? ...unfortunately, or fortunately, neither of those assumptions made by the person who attacked me are true (just ask my husband) Nor is the assumption true that I have used this "new invention" to keep my kids occupied while I do what I want to do. These are just assumptions about me and my home from someone who doesn't know me and has not asked the Lord to know me and my heart. Because REALLY I am not an expert in education, study, field, science, art or religion. I do not have qualms about admitting that I do not have all truth or even much truth. I occasionally make assumptions and am sometimes swayed by emotion. I make assumptions that others who may read my blog are also seeking for truth and can see that what I say and write and believe is not all reflected in this blog.

I have been learning about the importance of leaving emotion aside, not making assumptions and turning to the Lord. He is the source of all light and truth, not someones blog, newspaper column, or yahoo post....certainly not my blog, newspaper opinion, or posts! I am just a seeker of truth. I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of all light and truth and that my quest is to seek His light and His truth and His way.