Meekness & Humility

When I got home from my mission, I remember a time shortly after that I was talking to my Dad. I was in tears and I told him I thought I was a failure as a missionary. Sure, as far as baptisms, I had lots of success. I made lots of friends and taught daily. Yet I didn’t live the mission rules as I had desired. The longer I was out the more it seemed impossible to follow all the rules. I wanted to be exactly obedient to all the rules, but I wasn’t even close. When I say that, it’s not like anything I did would be considered a sin by a non missionary. I understand that nobody is perfect, but I just felt I had let the Lord down.

My dad did well to console me at the time and I largely forgot about it. I found a passage in the book I’m reading that sort of made me look at the situation from a different angle.

The closer one gets to God, the more clearly appear his own imperfections; the greater is his desire to overcome his weaknesses and sins.

To illustrate this point, consider the psychological reaction to height. If a person flies to 10,000 feet, the distance to the groud is so great that there is little fear of height. But that same person can get on top of a hundred foot ladder and become greatly terrified. So it is with sin. As we narrow the gap between our lives and the perfection of our Father, the stark reality of the distance becomes more and more vivid as the distance becomes less.

Max B. Skousen
How To Pray and Stay Awake

I think in High School there were two things that led me to a lack of humility. First, I had parents that did all they could to provide an atmosphere in our home where I could grow and always feel the spirit. They made it easy to do what was right. Second, I had great youth leaders and teachers that constantly praised me for the life that I lived. I had great confidence. While on a mission I didn’t really have that. I must admit I was shocked at the conduct of some of the missionaries I saw in the field. But as time went on, it seemed I became the type of missionary I first detested.

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man”

It seemed to me that without the strict rules of my parents to govern me, I wasn’t as strong. Could it be though that I was growing? Certainly I needed to leave the nest to grow. Was it possible, that as I grew closer to God and my Savior as a missionary that I became more painfully aware of my sins and imperfections?

[tags]Meek, Meekness, Humble, Humility, LDS Missionary[/tags]

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2 thoughts on “Meekness & Humility”

  1. I don’t know. Maybe.

    Perhaps it was the guilt trips that often come upon missionaries and the like that caused you to feel this way. There was a talk on Saturday afternoon that included ‘unnecessary guilt’ and ‘exaggerated imperfections’ that might be helpful. I can’t remember who gave it, but I do believe it wa on Saturday afternoon session.

  2. I love that stanza by Alexander Pope. It is so true! I firmly believe that one way Satan gets us to embrace and/or tolerate sin is to laugh at it. Make homosexuality the center of a sitcom. Make polygamy the subject of a drama. Make smoking cool. Make premarital sex sought after. Etc.

    I remember hearing a couple years ago a story about President Hinckley not taking the sacrament one Sunday. This may be an urban legend, I’d have to google around for a while to find out for sure. But he allegedly felt bad because during the administering of the sacrament he had been thinking about Church administration issues instead of the Savior.

    Whoa. How often does my mind go off on tangents during the Sacrament service? If true, this story illustrates your point about one’s sins becoming more apparent as we grow nearer to perfection. I have a looooooooooong way to go!

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