This is a General Conference Odyssey post:
I’m curious if next year’s lesson schedule for Priesthood/Relief Society will include any General Conference address, or just the most recent. May I take a moment here to say what a blessing it is for me to go back and read some of these beautifully inspired talks that contain so much of the spirit, that I am instantly filled. If you, or anyone you know, needs to recharge or gain an attitude adjustment, simply go back and read some of the great conference talks that have been given to us. Personally, my heart sings with joy in the healing of my brokenness.
For this session of General Conference (April 1977, Sunday Morning), Boyd K. Packer gave one of the more well-known talks ever given, entitled, “The Mediator.” There was a video made of this talk, which is still worth viewing. But for my purposes, I just want to bear my own testimony.
The topic of justice and mercy is always touchy. In our day, we typically want more mercy than justice. When people say, “Love wins” they are calling for more mercy than justice. When people let debt get out of hand or want “what they deserve,” they are asking for more mercy than justice. They feel justified and powerful in their willfulness. But justice cannot be robbed.
Elder Packer suggests we read Alma 42, where we will find a verse that reads:
“Justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment, if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God” (Alma 42:22).
It actually uses that final phrase three times in the chapter. Justice must be meted out, but our world will only teach excuses to avoid justice. God really is God, and will never cease, therefore justice must be served. The only hope we have is through Jesus Christ, The Mediator.
The Plan of Salvation has many names, but one name is The Plan of Mercy. Jesus Christ is our Mercy; our Mediator. Mercy, however, doesn’t rob justice, it pays justice with drops of perfect, precious blood. And Mercy must, in turn, be paid by each one of us with broken hearts. So, how exactly do we make this payment?
“Behold, He offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Ne. 2:7).
Next time you listen to the Sacrament prayers, think about what you are promising: Remember Him, Bear witness of Him, Take upon you His name, and Keep His commandments. What He wants are our hearts. And when we give Him our hearts, our hearts will surely sing with joy in the healing of our brokenness.
In a later talk, Elder Packer teaches us that “true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (“Little Children,” Oct. 1986).
It is our responsibility and privilege to study true doctrine, only found in the scriptures–specifically the Book of Mormon. There we will find all the mercy Jesus Christ has to offer us with His Great Atoning Sacrifice. As imperfect beings, it is inevitable that we will fall into Justice’s grasp, and we won’t be able to sweet talk our way out. But Jesus Christ will be there.
I’ve been memorizing The Living Christ lately, and the paragraph that always seems to bring me to tears is this one:
“We testify that He will someday return to earth. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.”
What is your heart’s desire? Is it possible to rob justice, even just a little bit to negotiate a partial payment? Will there be anyone who doesn’t need a Mediator?
For me, He is my Mercy and I will depend on Him to save me in my imperfectness. And He will. I know it. His promise is written in my heart, and oh, how my heart sings with joy in the healing of my brokenness.