Today was all about trials in our three-hour block. Relief Society, Sunday School, and even parts of Sacrament Meeting were devoted to them. This came a day after I was on my knees praying for help in overcoming my own. Very convenient.
In our study and discussions, one scripture that really stuck out to me was D&C 122:9, which reads:
"Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."
Note the highlighted portion of this scripture. If I had to pick a scriptural phrase that I have repeated to myself the most often with the most passion, it is fear not what man can do.
It is no great revelation to me that I often care more about what other people think than what the Lord thinks. My shyness in certain social situations can attest to that -- I often freak out about opening my mouth and making a fool of myself, probably because I do open my mouth and make a fool of myself. I often self-talk by saying, "Say that and they'll laugh. Do this and you'll be okay. Absolutely don't act like that unless you want to be embarrassed." Long story short, this scripture resonates with me.
The one thing I don't like about this scripture, however, (and it's not the scripture's fault, but our own, really) is that it appears to be so general. We don't even talk about it much. We just throw it out there and say, "Don't fear man, okay, guys?" But what is man, exactly? All of mankind? I guess, but we don't have to interact with all of mankind on a consistent basis.
That's when it hit me today that I need to be inserting the "man" (or groups of men) that my Heavenly Father asks me to not fear in my own life. If taken in the context of my life, this scripture would say the following things:
Fear not what friends can do.
Fear not what dates can do.
Fear not what politicians can do.
Fear not what professors can do.
Fear not what congresses can do.
Fear not what celebrities can do.
Fear not what guys you like can do.
Fear not what popular kids can do.
Fear not what civil rights groups can do.
Fear not what customers or coworkers can do.
Fear not what society can do.
Fear not what classmates can do.
Fear not what crowds can do.
Taken like that, the scripture becomes more real to me. I may write these things all over my room and my car to remind myself to not be afraid of them.
As the next part of the scripture promises, God shall be with us forever and ever if we only concern ourselves with what He thinks and what He'll do. The great thing about that is that He'll be a lot nicer to us than most of these people ever will. He loves us more than anyone else can, because He has the capacity to love us more. Infinitely more.
Who are the "men" that you fear? Write them down, and as this scripture admonishes, fear not what they can do. They may be able to punch you in the face and spread gossip about you and hurt your feelings and break your heart and pass laws that are wrong and advocate immoral behavior, but lest we forget, Heavenly Father has the power to make and destroy universes.
Taking that into consideration, realize what a blessing it is that He loves us so much. We need only love Him back to be blessed by Him.