Today I notice this verse of scripture
And now, my son, I have somewhat more to say unto thee than what I said unto thy brother; for behold, have ye not observed the steadiness of thy brother, his faithfulness, and his diligence in keeping the commandments of God? Behold, has he not set a good example for thee? – Alma 39:1
After writing fifteen verses to his obedient son Shiblon, Alma proceeds to give much lengthier advice to his disobedient son.
Parents tend to give more attention to the children in need of correction. Which means sometimes the obedient children wonder if they’re worth commending. They make right choices and then fail to get as much attention as their wayward peers, which can make rebelling look more attractive.
To give some credit to Alma, his fifteen verses to Shiblon include some great counsel.
And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Alma believes Shiblon is making decisions that will end in his ultimate happiness. That is doing pretty well, if you ask me. Alma doesn’t give his wayward son the same approval.
I noticed this verse because sometimes I feel like the obedient child who doesn’t get noticed. And although I try to show positive attention when my children are trying to make good choices, I know they also sometimes feel this way. It would be easy to pass over, but sometimes I also wonder if God is happy with my attempts to do right, or if I’m failing miserably. It’s possible to slip into feelings of depression and discouragement without anything major going wrong. There are probably lots of factors that play into feeling down. But if you’re sacrificing everything inside to try to accomplish something, it becomes important to know you’re on the right track.
Here’s what Elder Bednar said about these feelings:
My beloved brothers and sisters, godly fear dispels mortal fears. It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord’s requirements and expectations.
I can tell you that haunting fear is real. I feel it.
I’m working on building my relationship with God so that I can feel His acceptance and love for me, instead of fearing I will never measure up. I testify that as a parent, I’m learning how parents love. They love their children unconditionally and watch their childishness with patience, hoping to build them and help them accomplish their potential. I know God feels that way toward me. He isn’t discouraged by the things that get me down. He knows they are small things that I will overcome in time. He also sent His son, Jesus Christ, to rescue all of us from our mistakes. Christ’s atonement is so all-encompassing it empowers God’s entire plan for His children’s growth.
There. I feel better just saying all of that.
Images from lds.org