When ‘The Sword’ Is Too Much To Handle!


It was by chance that I found a straight razor in my hand that morning for my first shave. My older brother had spent the night and brought along his shaving kit. In it was the razor, shaving cream, after shave cologne and some additional blades. I can vividly recall that the razor blades were “Wilkenson Sword Double Edge.” I had a little peach fuzz that I wanted to get rid of. So after looking around, and making sure I was alone in the bathroom I began. I’m not sure why I felt so uneasy nor why I was feeling so embarrassed about it, but nevertheless, I recall being in a hurry to get the job done so as not to arouse suspicion in the house that I was “shaving.”

It was a pretty cool feeling to use the shaving cream. I sprayed it “liberally” in my hand. I soon found that I had applied so much cream on my face that I appeared to have instantaneously grown a “Santa” beard. Inadvertently some of it had gone up my nose, while my mouth seemed to be overrun with the stuff. It seemed to me at that moment, that if I were not careful, I might suffocate myself. I quickly cleared my breathing passages with my free hand. I was now ready for the main event. The razor was heavier than I imagined as I lifted it to the side of my face. I quickly stroked at my “beard”. I must have taken ten or so quick strokes to my face. A couple of stokes to the left side, two to the right, one or two under the nose, and a few stokes to the neck. Everything seemed to be going just fine. Suddenly, I felt some pain. I strained at the mirror. Slowly the once snowy white face started to turn red. Blood red! The mixture of red and white on my face reminded me of a wounded bleeding animal crawling through new fallen snow. I started to feel a stinging sensation at various places on my face. I splashed water to rinse and for a moment the blood red slashes disappeared. But, within seconds they were back. It seemed I had nicked myself…all over my face! I had to wear so many pieces of tissue on my face that day you would have thought I had been in a car accident and that my face had gone through the windshield.

Our spiritual lives are very similar to a maturing face. When we are young in the gospel, we need not take on the “swords” of doctrine that are complex and often confusing. Often, when we do so, it does more harm than good. Many years ago as a young man, I recall reading a book on the life of a church leader that disturbed me. Many years later I reread the same book and felt totally at ease with its content. The information hadn’t changed in the book, but my maturity and ability to better distinguish between the authors opinions and the facts had. All of us are in different stages of our understanding of the gospel. Many years ago, Boyd K. Packer said:

“Some are so near spiritual death that they must be spoon-fed on the broth of fellowship, or nourished carefully on activities and programs. As the scriptures say, they must have milk before meat” (“Feed My Sheep”, April 1984)The scriptures Packer was referring to are found in the words of Paul. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Corinthians 3:2)

Looking back on my first shaving experience, it wasn’t so much the technique I used that caused the problem. I had seen my father, brothers, and countless others on TV navigate the dangers of shaving. It was the fact my face was not “tough” enough to handle the blade. My teen “peach fuzz” was no match for the steely Wilkenson Swords! So let us be patience with ourselves and others when it comes to learning the principles of the gospel. Starting our learning of gospel principles with an empty razor might be more advised then beginning with the sharp edge of a sword for which we are not prepared to handle.

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