The introduction will not be literal, not now at least, though if you are lucky you will get to meet her in person.
I say that you’ll be lucky to meet her in person because Holly is a truly wonderful woman. She has a pure and tender heart (ready smile, eagerness to help); she is a proactive mother who invests her full focus on the welfare and well being of her family (struggling to stay at home with her children, pondering how to teach them correct principles); and she is a seeker and finder of truth.
It is thanks to Holly and her honest heart that my understanding of and appreciation for my Savior, having already sprouted, did grow exceedingly. To quote Alma, “my understanding was enlightened and my mind did expand.” (Alma 32:34)
It is this story that I want to share today.
In her quest to understand life and to make sense of existence, Holly has studied many religions. She feels particularly drawn to Buddhism and its emphasis on peace.
She taught me the doctrine of karma is that whatever you send out comes back to you. In fact, it comes back multiplied.
Our conversation left me puzzled. How does one help a person who does not embrace the story of Adam’s fall to see the importance of a Savior? What need is there of being redeemed from the Fall if one does not believe man has fallen?
The key that opened the door of my understanding came in the Book of Mormon. In Alma 41:15 it says “…that which ye do send out shall return unto you again.” Karma. Somehow, reading about karma in the Book of Mormon led me to the realization that the law of karma is the law of justice. We need a savior so that we do not have to get back what we send out. The Savior is mercy and grace. Christ paid for bad karma. If we turn to Him, we do not have to suffer the anguish and agony that karma/justice holds for us. He suffered for us and will save us, if we repent and turn to Him.
Pondering about Christ and karma, I came to another realization. It is Christ’s willingness to take our bad karma upon Him that sets Him apart from the other great teachers of the earth. Mohammed, Buddha and Lao-Tse (Taoism) taught compassion, humility, forgiveness, service, and love, just like Christ did. But, unlike Christ, they did not offer to pay for our failures to live compassionately, humbly, and lovingly. With them, we are left to suffer for our own mistakes. Only Christ offered to pay for our lapses, to suffer for our mistakes.
And He did not stop there. “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind…and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, that he may know how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12) He experienced pain and sorrow of EVERY kind. As a legitimately empathetic Being, He truly knows how to best comfort and guide us. But He does not stop there. Not only will He pay for our sins, He will help us with the sorrow and heartache that accompany sin. In fact He will help us with all sorrow and heartache, be it caused by our sins, by the sins of others, or by life’s circumstances in general, if we will turn to Him.
This enlightenment, this understanding of Christ and His role, is the gift that Holly gave me. Thanks to her, I better comprehend why we need Him.
But I don’t want to stop here. I want to tell you, as I told Holly, not just why I need a Savior but why I love my Savior.
I love Him because He has helped me with my sorrows and heartaches. I love Him because He has paid for my sins. I love Him because He has truly comforted me, lifted me, changed my heart, and given me peace and direction in this increasingly chaotic world.
The bottom line about Christianity is that it works. It works. I know from personal experience that my Savior lives and that He loves me, that He forgives, comforts, leads, guides, and directs us when we turn to Him.
May the peace, joy, and light of the Christ child, son of Mary, grow and expand into the peace, joy, and light that Christ, the Son of God, offers to our souls.