The Same Blame Game As Cain


Any student of the Bible knows the story of Cain and Abel and of the first recorded murder. Because of Cain’s insincere offering, the Lord “had not respect… and Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4-5) Motivated by greed, envy, and jealously, Cain slew his brother Abel. When his dastardly deed is discovered he is cursed by the Lord. I am sure that Cain, like most of us, lamented the fact that he got caught and rationalized that he had been driven to murder because he had been rejected. I’m sure that blaming the Lord for his acts was a way for Cain to excuse his unrighteous behavior.

For many of us, shifting the blame to others for our unrighteous actions is a convenient way of absolving us of any responsibility and the consequences that result from what we do. I have spoken to many individuals who have had horrible childhoods who have been abused by family, friends, or relatives. Others have had horrific marriages, or have been tested with all kinds of physical abnormalities or disease. Endless is the nature of tragedy that enters into the lives of many, and endless are the possibilities for us to blame this life on who we have become. Yet, while many of us play the same blame game as Cain, there are countless others who overcome all obstacles and live pure and wonderful lives.

I know of a man who was given away as a young child by his mother. Her love was conditional and she lived a life of excess, rarely taking into account the negative impact she was having on both him, and his siblings. He suffered from a debilitating handicap, which alone, might have derailed most. He battled the demons in his mind which told him he was less than others and the anger that lived so close to his heart. From time to time he had fits of rage and he wanted to strike out at the world…but he didn’t. In my mind he had plenty of reasons to ’blame’ God, and the world…but he didn’t. He stumbled from time to time but…he didn’t fall. He graduated college with honors, got an advanced degree, married, and has raised a wonderful family. He has become a productive contributor in the community where he resides. I admire him. He didn’t play the “blame game.” At the core of this man’s life is a faith in Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of His atonement.

I believe that any individual can change with the help of the Savior. It is never easy to do so. The blame game is much easier and can even garner sympathy from those around us. But it doesn’t help us find true happiness. It is a ‘Band Aid’ on a gaping wound that will not heal without the help of the master physician. No matter what the condition of our souls may be, may we look to Him who heals all and abandon the blame game of Cain that has existed from the beginning of time. In so doing we will find internal happiness and the peace we so desperately seek.


When Mental Illness Establishes ‘Residency’


Over the years, I have spoken to countless individuals who are suffering from anxiety, depression and a host of other disorders. Most were faithful members of the church, doing all that they can to keep the commandments and obey the gospel principles. Despite faith and priesthood blessings, their illnesses remain. Their stories are heartbreaking and though often filled with pain, their hope and faith is something to admire.

“How many people in your ward are suffering from some form of mental illness? One? Two? None? Chances are good that your estimate is too low.

A major study by the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that as many as 20 percent of adult Americans suffer from a disabling mental disorder. The most serious and chronic of these disorders—schizophrenia, manic-depression, and chronic major depression—often require hospitalization and medication. In fact, serious mental disorders fill more hospital beds in the United States than cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis combined. But milder forms of clinical depression and severe anxiety can also disrupt individual and family lives and require professional treatment. (See “How Many Are Suffering?” p. 53. Jan Underwood Pinborough, “Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope,” Ensign, Feb 1989, 51)

As we go through life we are faced with many of the challenges of this mortal life. The human body with all of its imperfections, including mental, is certainly one of them. If mental illness, in all its forms, hasn’t personally touched us, we will surely have a loved one who will suffer with such an affliction. I would hope that each of us would try to overcome the tendency to judge and condemn others who suffer under such pain. I have often found that many suffer in silence. They walk the lonely road, alone. When in doubt, do as the Savior would do; lift!

The day may come when Mental Illness will take residency in our bodies but our souls are ‘of a different matter.’ And even though most of us understand that the Lord loves us, we will still look for the outstretched arms of others for support. May the Lord bless us with the wisdom, courage, and strength to persevere such trials, be we the lonely traveler, or the loving “Good Samaritan” who is charged to help those where mental illness has established a residency!


Why God Doesn’t Send Me His Angels! (He Gave Me Sisters Instead!)


For most of us there comes a time when we seek divine help from our God above. We pray for His guidance and daily affirmation.  We seek for his mercy and many times for His love and for relief. Could He just spare an Angel from above who can come and relieve us from all of our cares!

And while I still find myself asking for divine intervention from time to time. I have discovered through experience that the Angels I so desperately desire, have already been dispatched on my behalf. Some even before my birth.  A loving Father sent them to help me throughout my life.

I have discovered that God doesn’t send me His Angels when so often I ask.  He saves them for others who have not been so richly blessed. No need to send them to me and it’s not because he doesn’t love me.  On the contrary! No, He blessed me greater…he gave me sisters. What greater gift can a man have than cherubic sisters who care for and love their less angelic brothers.

So when next I find myself asking for help and that He dispatch one of His helpers, I will change my plea and ask that He send them to another who hasn’t been blessed with one of His earthly Angels.

So to sisters all over, perhaps us brothers don’t always show our appreciation on a regular basis, or perhaps not at all. But speaking for brothers everywhere may I thank you for your love, devotion and Christlike service to your lesser siblings. May you know that your service to us is of a heavenly nature and that we count you as one of the greatest blessings in our lives and that oft times we don’t even plead with the Lord for His angels to come. Because we know that He gave us sisters instead! (And your just a phone call away!)





Being Overwhelmed Is Very Much A Part Of The Journey


Joseph Fielding McConkie gave a talk entitled, “Finding Answers,” at a devotional in 2006. In his talk he told a story.

The story centered around a young man who had a very difficult problem. He did not know what to do, so he visited with his bishop. The bishop listened carefully and thoughtfully. He asked a few questions to assure that he understood all that was involved. He then confessed that he had no idea what counsel to give but told the young man that he would be meeting with the stake president the next evening and that he would present the matter to him.

The Bishop took the problem to the Stake President and he didn’t know what to do with it so he met with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve who also confessed he doesn’t have an idea what counsel to give. The apostle then brings it to a meeting he has with the President of the Church, who at the time was David O. McKay. Up to this point all have listened attentively and with desire to help. The story continues:

“That afternoon he,(the apostle), met with President McKay and carefully explained the problem. President McKay listened attentively and asked a few questions to assure that he understood all that was involved and then said, “Well, that’s his (meaning the young man’s) problem, isn’t it.”
McConkie ended his talk with some sound advise and wisdom: ” If angels will not do for you what you can do for yourself, be assured that the Holy Ghost will not do it either. It is not the design of heaven that we be rescued from all difficult situations. Rather, it is the system that we grow up and learn to handle them. The sense of being overwhelmed is very much a part of the journey…. Nevertheless, the path we seek will always be clearly marked by the covenants we have made and the callings we have received. It is the accepting of our lot and moving forward with what the Lord has asked of us that we discover that the Holy Ghost enjoys our company, angels feel constrained to join us, and the heavens open to our vision.”

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