As the 2012 Christmas Season approaches, I thought I'd share a message that is more spiritual in nature than my usual fare. Happy Holidays everyone!
In 2010, Angela Eschler, a former editor of mine approached me with the non-fiction book idea for Christ’s Gifts to Women.
At first I was hesitant because co-authoring might sound like it would
take half the time as doing a book on one’s own, but in reality, the
time spent combining ideas and working out details with another person,
can actually be more of a time investment.
that perspective I knew I needed to be really passionate about the book
idea. When I read the introduction that Angela had put together, I loved
the idea and knew that I could help. This article is not about my
co-authoring experience, but about something I learned along the way
about the Savior.
we hear messages about the Savior—some of them have become buzz words
or even car stickers—so much so that we may have stopped hearing the
message that’s intended for us. I’ve certainly heard hundreds of tidbits
about the Savior in my life. I’ve even lived in the Holy Land and read
the New Testament while sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane. I don’t
consider myself an expert by any means about the Savior’s life, but it
seems that nothing I heard was “new.”
was quite astounding to me when I read something Angela wrote for one of
the chapters. In fact, I read it more than once before and after
publication. And it’s frequently on my mind. It’s nothing
earth-shattering, and I knew it on at least one level, but I had never
an LDS author friend of mine was contacted by a reader who expressed
her displeasure that one of the characters in the novel had dressed
immodestly. My friend was dismayed to receive such critical feedback
about her book—first because the character wasn’t LDS and the story
wasn’t LDS fiction so she didn’t feel like she was condoning immodesty,
and second, on a deeper level, she felt that she was being chastised for
her own worthiness. This was probably not the intention of the reader,
but it reminded me of how quick we can be to feel judged by another
person, no matter how well-intentioned a comment might be.
My thoughts went again to what I had learned about the Savior.
familiar with the story of the woman taken into adultery. It is a
heartbreaking story of cruelty (by the Pharisees) and humiliation (of
the woman). In the day of Christ, it was common for an adulteress to be
accused in a public setting, her sins announced to the world, then
executed before any repentance or forgiveness could take place.
Apparently the Pharisees esteem Jesus enough that they ask Him if they should stone her, and His reply is: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). We know what happens next. Without even meeting anyone’s gaze, Jesus “stooped down, and with his finger wrote
on the ground, as though he heard them not” (v. 9). One by one the
Pharisees leave, unable to justify casting the first stone. The
Pharisees have realized they have no authority from God to judge this
And Jesus is then left alone with her.
This fact is what struck me so powerfully. She is left alone with the Savior.
She’s not standing in front of the Pharisees, in front of her church
congregation, in front of her husband, in front of her children. She
only faces the Savior. And only the Savior has the power to judge her.
explains this idea in more detail: “Like our sister, who was left alone,
no one stands with us in our daily courtrooms but Christ. In spite of
the many self-appointed juries in our mortal sphere, who may heap harsh
judgments upon us, we too are “left alone” with the only judge who
matters. And He is a merciful judge. He, our only legitimate accuser,
does not condemn.”
I take comfort in the thought that the Savior is a merciful judge. That He is our only legitimate accuser. And that He does not condemn.
What a balm to the soul.
seem to listen to the accusers of the world, the ones who would condemn
us publically and withhold forgiveness and mercy.
been counseled by our church leaders that not only are we to forgive
others, but we need to forgive ourselves. It’s one thing to “go and sin
no more” (John 8:11), and another to allow ourselves to heal from the
pain of sin.
can remember in our moments of despair that the only One authorized to
judge us is the Savior. His mercy does not have a limit; it is endless.
And the One who judges us came “not . . . to condemn the world; but that
the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
still a hard thing to put our faith in the concept of mercy and becoming
clean again, free from regrets, which is probably why I continue to
study and read about the Savior and the Atonement. At times I feel as if I
only grasp a small part of it. Other times, I am enveloped in a fuller
understanding—but that soon becomes crowded out with the perpetual
noises of the world.
is my job, and your job, to create those alone moments with the Savior,
where it is just us alone with the Savior—feeling of His mercy, His
understanding, His love, and seeing ourselves through His lens.
(This article was originally published in Meridian Magazine)