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To sin is to do something contrary to the will of the Lord. It is to be willfully disobedient. Transgression, on the other hand, is the violation of a law or rule that may or may not be against the will of the Lord. Thus, all sins are transgressions but not all transgressions are sins.
Sin is breaking a law with knowledge that a law is being broken. Adam didn’t have knowledge of good and evil before partaking of the forbidden fruit, so his act was a transgression of the law, not a sin against the law.
The Bible clearly notes a difference between sin and transgression
- Psalms 25:7 -> “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.”
- Joshua 24:19 -> “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”
The first mention of sin in the Bible is in regards to Cain.
Genesis 4:6-7 -> “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
Adam and Eve’s partaking of the forbidden fruit is referred to as transgression.
Romans 5:14 -> “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”
This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.
I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen. It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.
There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!
The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service. There was a great lesson presented. In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.
They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.
This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.
My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.
The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion. I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry. I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.
I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.
April has been a month of recommitting and remembering.
Let’s all face it. When we’re following the straight and narrow path, you are the most happy.
This is done by following the commandments, daily prayers throughout the day, following family home evening, putting effort into your callings, giving thanks and remembering Christ.
Heavenly Father knows our hearts and our needs and he listens to our prayers. When we are weathered from the world and feel that we are not 100% and yearn to be, he will bless us and give us a way.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:21-22)
Throughout the Book of Mormon we consistantly see the word “Remember.” Searching on scriptures.lds.org for “Remember” shows us at least 88 results.
Recommitting is remembering.
Remember the baptismal covenant.
Remember the plan of salvation/happiness.
Remember to pray.
Remember the scriptures.
Remember Heavenly Father and his love.
Remember Jesus Christ and the atonement.
Remember and be blessed with peace and happiness.
At times I questioned myself if I can answer those temple recommend interview questions with no issues. I remember the last time I went for a temporary temple recommend interview back in March for Baptisms for the Dead. I caught myself being harsh when asked questions. I attribute it to judging ourselves and we are our own worse judge. My Bishop agreed.
I often find myself self-interviewing on one particular question:
Are you kind to your family members?
Am I? What does that mean? It means, do I treat them as Christ would during the good times and the bad times? Do I display patience with my family at all times? Am I a good Father and Husband?
For a while, I was in a cycle of confusion and this is how it went:
I feel like I am in a deep hole, looking upwards at the sky and that I can’t make it out.I feel that my family deserves better than I have given in the past. I have only been at it for over 18 months and I thought I was changing. I’m not sure sometimes. At times I feel like I really have changed.I am not always patient or soft spoken in stressful situations. I seem to let the worst come out of me only in front of my spouse and children. In my early twenties, I picked up the bad habbit of swearing. My language has cleaned up over the past 18 months but I have those moments of relapse.
I expect so much from my family (from expecting the same strictness that I had to follow when I was younger) at times that it only leads me to anger and fits of yelling when things aren’t going well.
I’ve been taught that true conversion happens over time. Am I converted? Am I converted enough?
Could I stand tall with my fellow brethren who are temple recommend holders?
Every Sunday, I feel energized and I believe that I can climb my way out of this deep hole.I realize to myself that I cannot be perfect and Christ-like at all times. That is why we have the atonement.I am thankful for the atonement and the fact that Jesus Christ took upon himself my sins, my sadness and my pain. I am thankful for the ordinance of Sacrament where I can renew my baptismal covenants and be forgiven for my short comings. During Sacrament, I feel true sorrow and pain. I then feel forgiven and my burdens lifted away.
I love the feeling of being clean and renewed for another week.
I pray for long suffering, patience, being a good example for my children and to be a better Father and Husband.
I love feeling I can start over with myself and my family.
I feel like the moment that I slip, no matter how high I have made it I fall to the bottom of that deep hole and I have to start over. Maybe I’ve raised my voice to my kids or handle a stressful situation very poorly. When growing up, my parents were very strict and always yelled. I see myself doing that sometimes. I see my oldest son yelling at his brothers sometimes and I see myself in him and I become deeply saddened.With the atonement comes repentance. I truly feel sorry for the mistakes and actions that make me feel like I am not kind enough to my family. But true repentance means taking steps to not do it again and then, not do it!
But when I falter I feel like I have failed at repentance. I take my prior transgressions from the week before and add it on to this week as well. That deep hole is getting even deeper.
What if it has been months that I feel I’ve been doing a good job and then I mess up by losing my temper and swear up a storm and scream and yell?
When do I become better? How long do I go without slipping before I can answer “Yes” to the question “Are you kind to your family members?” It can’t be one week. A Month? Two Months?
How can I live higher laws if I cannot live these lower laws?
Am I ever going to make it to the Temple?
Go to back to Despair
I feel like I have finally broken out of this confusing cycle by realizing that during this journey of life every day we build ourselves up to be much more righteous and when we falter we have the atonement and repentance to lift ourselves up and try again. As long as we are on the upward climb we are doing well.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times that by doing in faith the following: Daily prayer, scripture reading, and keeping our minds constantly on the Savior Jesus Christ and the Savior make a very, very large difference.
I woke up and found that my wife was sick and that she wasn’t going to make it to Church. I wanted to roll over and not go to Church either after being up late the night before. Despite my better judgment, I almost did just that – until my youngest son walked in the room and I looked at him in his sweet, big, round eyes.
At that moment I realized how important Church was and even if I didn’t want to go that moment, that it would benefit my children if I took them and if I tagged along. I felt humbled and shameful for even thinking that I should just sleep in. My priorities were jumbled. Then the verse “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) came to my mind.
As President Gordon B. Hinckley read in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, he says:
“Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
I have that duty to:
- Rear my children in righteousness.
- Provide for their Spiritual Needs
- Teach them to observe the commandments of God
In this case, I should observe the Sabbath day and take my children to church. I should teach my children by living a life as an example and going to Church every Sunday. These children, are not only mine, but of the Lord. And I have been given stewardship over them.
I can remember taking my children to church by myself at least one other time back in December. It is these times I appreciate my wife herding the children in the chapel and lobby. I feel lucky that both times the kids generally behaved and didn’t give me too much of a hard time.
Picking up my boys after class had its own rewards. The happiness and smiles from their faces after being in Sunday School made it more than worth it.
- Salvation is an individual matter.
- Exaltation is a family matter.
- Family is the support for Salvation.
- The home is a laboratory for learning the gospel.
- Men need women to be exalted and visa versa.
- We cannot be released in our calling as parents.
- The Church is to assist, not replace parents in their responsibility to teach children.
- Parents have a sacred responsibility to teach Children of God.
- We’re taught to shun filth.
- We’re taught to honor thy parents.
- You can teach only by persuasion, long suffering, reproving, and more love.
- We’re all responsible for our own salvation.
These key points from his talk should echo in our minds. In the bigger scheme of things, we are merely stewards of our children on Earth. Our children are children of God entrusted under our car to teach them, to protect them and to love.
I also like his point on how Church is to assist and not replace parents. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reinforces and strengthens our families. It should reiterate what is learned in the home and not be something new when taught during our Sunday Schools.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many, many times before, but I think it makes sense to repeat these words of wisdom:
If you were to erase everything your children learn in Sunday School and Church and strictly rely on what is taught at home, would they still have the same level of knowledge of the Gospel as if they did attend Church and Sunday School?
I hope so.
One of the things that I’ve learned over the past half year is that Heavenly Father is bound by laws. At first, it didn’t seem right – that Heavenly Father, a perfect being, of all people would have a follow laws and rules? You’ve got to be kidding me!
But it makes sense.
Things have to be done a certain way for a reason. The universe has to have order. We have the laws of physics. We have the laws of mathematics. We have national laws. We have state laws. We have city laws…
The point is, things work out better when you follow the rules. Our rules are the Commandments, which are made for our benefit. If we can follow the commandments faithfully, it paves a way to many blessings, both spiritually and temporally.
God promises a blessing for obedience to particular commandments. The promise that he makes is called a covenant. A covenant is a sacred agreement or mutual promise between God and a person or a group of people. If we choose to obey our end of the covenant, we receive promised blessings. If we choose not to obey, he withholds the blessings. Not being obedient takes away from ourselves.
If we keep the Lord’s commandments, he is bound by his promise to bless us as stated in Doctrine and Covenants.
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10)
Think about the following scenario: A Father promises to buy his son a pet rat if he gets all A’s on his report card. His son tries his hardest and receives an ‘A.’ This promise was made for the son’s benefit. What would happen if the Father did not follow through with his promise? The son would be disheartened and perhaps not do as good on his next report card? The father is bound by his promise, it is only right.
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)
It is comforting and motivating to know that there are blessings in store when following the commandments given to us. I find it absolutely amazing and humbling that our Heavenly Father has to follow the rules as well.
He and his son are our examples. What great role models to have!
It’s been an interesting few weeks for the Church! With Mitt Romney going for President, there has been a spotlight on the Church and its members.
It looks like the Church released four videos touching on the subject of politics on YouTube. Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles appear in these videos and answer questions people may have on their mind.
What Does Church Political Neutrality Mean for Mormons?
“Be involved, but don’t look at the Church to direct you as to how to be involved.”
Why Should Mormons Participate in the Political Process?
“The very fundemental principal of freedom is absolutely essential for the gospel of Jesus Christ to propser.”
What is the Civic Duty of Mormons?
“The Civic Duty of any Latter Day Saint…is to be actively involved in the political process”
Are Mormon Politicians Directed By Church Leadership?
“We have a long record in the Church of not interferring with public officials…Politcal Candidates understand that. They don’t ever come to the Church and say ‘What Do I do?’”
You can see additional videos by visiting their profile on YouTube.