So while harnessing our vengeful thoughts & impulses, we do still grow from witnessing justice do its duty; the cause and effect of bad choices.
The problem is that mere observation of the world around us does not produce a conviction that justice does its duty, necessarily. An observer is just as likely to learn contempt for justice because it miscarries so often and the wrongdoer prospers or is not punished. The fact is that justice is never going to be perfect until Christ is in charge. We need to learn righteousness in an imperfect world, not because we fear the application of justice, but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s much harder, but much better.]]>
When we do things we know we’re not supposed to be doing, our conscience tends to make us squirm. Some say this kind of “guilt” is a bad thing, but I figure it’s one of the main mechanisms for keeping some semblance of order in society (and the more the society around us eliminates guilt the less order we seem to have).
But what I was going to say was, we all have sinned, and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. (I’ll let you guess the reference.:))
That “primal vengeful impulse” is a “natural man” thing that we should learn to do away with. I don’t think it makes anybody any more righteous to join the chorus of condemnation. But it is true that example can teach us – even warning example.]]>
I agree. Speaking for myself, I have seen people fall in a big way and the thought has crossed my mind, that could have been me. So in respect to seeing ourselves in the sinner, that is true– and valuable to salvation. But I wonder if the “primal vengeful impulse”, while sinful, isn’t somehow darkly related to our need to experience justice– whether we’re feeling vengeful toward the sinner or just the sinful act (even in a masochistic way: as a kid I’ve felt undercurrents of relief when I was caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to). So while harnessing our vengeful thoughts & impulses, we do still grow from witnessing justice do its duty; the cause and effect of bad choices.]]>
In the ninth book of The Republic, Plato observed that “the virtuous man is content to dream what a wicked man really does.” Freud further argued that lawbreakers (sinners) make it possible for the rest of us to adapt to the demands of normality by acting out, and being punished for, our own unacknowledged impulses. Also, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim observed the criminal (sinner) contributes to civic well-being (righteousness) not only by promoting a sense of solidarity among law-abiding citizens (the obedient), united in condemnation of the malefactor (or in this case, sin), but by providing a cathartic outlet for their primal vengeful impulses.
It’s kind of like watching Jackass from the safety of the couch, only with spiritual implications.
So blame him, don’t blame him– he’s a necessary tool to help us prepare for eternity.]]>
I can say that, right? It’s different than blaming him for my sins. ;)]]>
We must remember that our adversary only has as much power over us as we allow him. Just as God won’t force us to act in a certain way, the Devil can’t. Remember, we are free to act for ourselves.
Interesting point. This was reinforced in a recent lesson in PH/RS:
“Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield. Our organization is such that we can resist the devil; if we were not organized so, we would not be free agents.”
“The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.”
On May 16, 1841, the Prophet addressed the Saints: “President Joseph Smith … observed that Satan was generally blamed for the evils which we did, but if he was the cause of all our wickedness, men could not be condemned. The devil could not compel mankind to do evil; all was voluntary. Those who resisted the Spirit of God, would be liable to be led into temptation, and then the association of heaven would be withdrawn from those who refused to be made partakers of such great glory. God would not exert any compulsory means, and the devil could not; and such ideas as were entertained [on these subjects] by many were absurd.”
We tend to try to give the devil more credit than he really deserves because it lets us off the hook. It’s important to remember the fact that we really are in the driver’s seat.]]>