This reminds me–tangentially–of a point Lynnette once made to me about how NT writers seem to have thought of sin as a general state of being (you’re in sin or you’re in grace, I think) but that we now generally think more of specific little bad acts–sins. This kind of reminds me of what other commenters have already said about weakness as a general state of being maybe also being what God was talking about. I don’t know.]]>
being singular b/c it refers to our ultimate weakness, not just our individual weaknesses. That ultimate weakness can only be made strong through the Atonement. Instead of thinking of the atonement in piece meal fashion, in a modern, Western, self-improvement sense of one by one improving our wekenesses, it is declaring the power of the atonement to make us strong through Jesus Christ. Thinking of weaknesses in this modern piece meal fashion is anachronistic to the Book of Mormon. Seeing our ultimate wekaness helps us step out of a myopic view of individual weaknesses to the greater view of the divine grace of Jesus to save us from that which brings all weaknesses, our fallen nature–only overcome through the Savior.]]>
I agree that the Lord can and does change weaknesses into strengths in the way you suggest, and I don’t mean to take away from this interpretation. But I think we’d be missing something important in the text of Ether 12 if we overlook the fact that we are “made strong” when we allow our weaknesses to humble us and turn us to the Lord. The Lord told Moroni in verse 37:
And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.
It was Moroni’s “seeing” of his weakness — and his resulting humility and trust in the Lord — that “made [him] strong” and led to the promise of his salvation. I’d suggest that verse 27 can be read the same way. Moroni’s weakness became a strength insofar as (1) he saw his weakness, and (2) it caused him to humble himself and exercise faith. In this manner, even as Moroni retained the weakness, it was “made strong unto him.”
I don’t think this reading detracts one bit from the message of hope in Ether 12. God gave us weaknesses because He loves us. The way we respond to those weaknesses can lead us back to Him.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post.]]>
While I believe such transformations can and do occur, they often take a very long time. In the short term, a “weak thing” can become “strong” to us if it causes us to realize our inability to succeed without God’s help, to exercise faith, to increase the frequency and fervency of our prayers, and to seek forgiveness.
Yes, it’s definitely a long process, and in the short term we can learn those things along the way, but I believe weak things only become strong when they actually, you know, become strong.
Linda, what you say is undoubtedly true, but words mean things. Let’s not enshrine misunderstanding as acceptable on the basis of promoting spiritual growth.]]>