I have the lesson today in Relief Society, which is the women’s Sunday School-ish class. The men have the same lesson, only in their own meeting.
The lesson manual focuses on the 10 commandments, found in Exodus 20, directly related to dishonesty:
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
The lesson said we’re not to lie, cheat or steal.
As the teacher, it’s my responsibility to make the lesson tailored to the sisters. For those who long ago made a commitment to give our hearts to Christ, these basic commandments make for really boring lessons. Okay, I guess I’m just talking about myself. I’m bored when the lesson is something that I learned when I was 10 years old and it doesn’t bring in any new insights from those first lessons.
So I re-wrote the lesson.
I framed it in terms of a covenant relationship with God. This is the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) unique claim, afterall. Because Christ‘s Church was lost from the earth, God wanted to restore mankind’s ability to live in a covenant relation with Him. Covenants begin with ordinances administered by His authority.
In today’s lesson, we’ll discuss honesty in terms of the following framework:
I. Our covenant relationship with God requires honesty with Him
II. Our covenant relationship with God requires honesty with ourselves
III. Our covenant relationship with God requires honesty with others
The last portion will include a section on how emotional honesty affects our relationship in each of these categories
Emotional honesty influences our relationships with God, ourselves and others.
This idea came to me when watching this video below in between general conference sessions last week. (In general conference, the Prophet and Apostles address the Church and the world.)
Look for Chris’ emotional honesty in the video
Because of Chris’ emotional honesty, I believe he was able to access the Atonement of Christ. Because he was able to access the Atonement, he was enabled to forgive Cameron, the teenaged drunk driver who hit his car and killed his wife and two of his children. Because of Chris’ decision to access the Atonement, he was emotionally available to support his grieving children.
Look for the following specific examples of his emotional honesty:
a. He was honest in his prayers with the Lord with how he felt Chris: "When I kneel down and desire to speak to my Father in Heaven when I am so anguished it's an interesting conversation to have. He didn't try to make it better, He listened at first and that was very helpful . He allowed me to get that anger off my chest, but inevitably He would always come back and teach me about His Son. When I did feel anger or loneliness, I didn't direct it at the person who caused this, it directed itself at the Savior.
b. . His emotional honesty made him humble and sensitive to the Spirit: "I remember sensing and feeling that I needed to let this go.”
c.. His emotional honesty enabled him to express himself to the drunk driver and then forgive him: [Cameron when he first met Chris] "He was completely willing to talk about what happened that night and how he felt about it. [Cameron's Mom speaking] "He said some things that Cameron needed to hear and he didn't mince words. He let him know how he was feeling ." Cameron: "He wants me to let go of what happened. He wants me to pick a date and forget. Just move on from what happened completely.”
Questions to Ponder and Discuss
How did emotional honesty enable Chris (the father in the video) to access the Atonement and forgive? Do you think Chris could have forgiven Cameron without first expressing his honest feelings to the Lord?
How would emotional dishonesty harden the heart?
How does emotional honesty affect our spirituality?
The Point I’m hoping to make about honesty and spirituality
For those interested in spirituality, emotional health should not be neglected. The Spirit is a voice we feel. (1 Kings 19:11) Denying the sincere feelings of our hearts makes us hard hearted and disconnected from God, His Spirit, ourselves and our neighbor. We’re commanded to love each.
I believe it was through Chris’ emotional honesty that he was able to grieve in a way that turned his heart to the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. Christ gives us power beyond our own, but we have to take personal steps to access His power.
I’m looking forward to the insights that come out in the lesson. What are your thoughts on the topic?