It never ceases to amaze me the ways that further light and truth come with each new reading of the Book of Mormon. I recently came to Mosiah and began again to study King Benjamin’s words. (AH! Can I get a witness for King Benjamin?!! I mean couldn’t we all just read the first chapters of Mosiah and be edified for months or years on end?) Something stood out to me this time around in Mosiah 4:28 which has lead me to ponder more:
And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
The words, “perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also” jumped out at me. What an interesting thought that our own actions could lead others to commit sin. “But that’s silly,” you might say, “I cannot cause someone else to act or behave a certain way. I’m not some kind of sorcerer or hypnotist.” You may think that you just don’t have that kind of power but perhaps each of us does. Perhaps if our own actions cause someone as Paul said, “to fulfil the lust of the flesh” then we do have that power. One person’s actions could lead others into “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and the like” as Paul outlines in Galatians 5.
What an interesting way for King Benjamin to testify of Christ’s commandment to love thy neighbor nearly 125 years before Christ himself ever walked the earth. It is yet another testament of Jesus Christ in itself and another testament to the truthfulness of this marvelous book. And what great direction and motivation to be more Christlike in our behavior. While we all have our agency, and each of us is ultimately responsible for our own behavior, we must strive not to allow our actions to cause feelings or responses from others that would cause them to sin. To not treat others in a manner that would cause jealousy, anger, resentment, feelings of betrayal, isolation, worthlessness, sadness, the list goes on and is something I know we all, myself especially, can strive to improve on each day.
Which brings me to another thought that has been going through my head and I believe is the antithesis to the first half of this post. For the last few weeks R.A.O.K. (Random Acts of Kindness) have been on my mind as we attempt to strengthen family bonds through these during the month of April. See the cute little pinwheels I found at the dollar store to kick things off?!
As I have been prayerfully thinking about what to do for whom in my family, I have had the spirit bring me promptings to also do things for my neighbors. For example, there are a number of homes that I walk or drive by almost every day and I think to myself, “Wow what a beautiful yard and home they have! They work so hard and it really shows and it is delightful to look at each time I see it!” I honestly do feel joy each time I see their houses and yards, and I decided, “hey, instead of keeping this nice thing to myself I am gonna write them a note and tell them!” I know crazy, right? It’s not creepy or stalker-ish at all. LOL But seriously, even just starting to think about R.A.O.K. for my family is leading me to see the endless opportunities and fun there could be in doing this for others.
Yes I said fun. SO much fun! And I’ll tell you something else. It’s kind of addicting. And joyful. And addicting. Kyle and I had SO much fun driving all over the valley dropping these pinwheels off. What a great antidote to King Benjamin’s warning about behavior that may cause others to sin. This is quite the opposite I believe. Especially for someone who you might have had hard feelings towards, or someone who might have hard feelings towards you. I plan to do random acts of kindness for any and everyone who falls into this category for me, along with all the people I feel prompted! I encourage you to try it because it feels oh so good!