My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Matthew 11-12 and Luke 11 and a lesson titled “I Will Give You Rest.” The lesson was receded with the following counsel from President Dallin H. Oaks: “The scriptures, which are the revelations of the past, cannot be understood without the openness to the revelations of the present…. A study of the scriptures enables men and women to receive revelations” (“Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 7). The lesson was then introduced with the following information:
In many ways, the Pharisees and scribes
had made worshipping Jehovah burdensome. They often emphasized strict rules
over eternal truths. Rules about the Sabbath day, which was meant to be a day
of rest, were themselves a heavy burden.
And then, Jehovah Himself came among His people.
He taught them that the true purpose of religion is not to create burdens but
to relieve them. He taught that God gives us commandments, including the one to
honor the Sabbath, not to oppress us but to bless us. Yes, the way to God is
strait and narrow, but the Lord came to announce that we need not walk it
alone. “Come unto me,” He pleaded. His invitation, to all who feel “heavy laden”
for any reason, is to stand beside Him, to bind ourselves to Him, and to let
Him share our burdens. His promise is “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Compared to the alternatives – trying to carry on alone or relying on mortal solutions
– His “yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30.)
the scripture blocks for the lessons contain too many principles to discuss in
one blog post, I feel prompted to write on a principle found in Matthew
12:34-37 and Luke 11:33-44: “My words and actions reflect what is in my heart.”
The Savior often criticized the Pharisees as trying to appear righteous while
having impure intentions. First, we will look at what the scriptures say, with
the account given in Mathew 12:34-37 first.
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye,
being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
35 A good man out of the good treasure of
the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure
bringeth forth evil things.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle
word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of
37 For by thy words thou shalt be
justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Luke 11:33-44, Jesus Christ charges the Pharisees of acting with great
hypocrisy in several ways.
37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee
besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled
that he had not first washed before dinner.
39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye
Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward
part is full of ravening and wickedness.
40 Ye fools, did not he that made that
which is without make that which is within also?
41 But rather give alms of such things as
ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye
tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love
of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love
the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over
them are not aware of them.
can understand from the two scripture blocks that Jesus Christ does not approve
of people who pretend to be righteous but are not righteous in their hearts. The
Savior’s words in Matthew 12:34 are “Out of the abundance of the heart the
mouth speaketh.” The most important place for us to be our real selves is in
our homes. Our children hear our words and see our behaviors. If we speak and
behave differently at home than we do in the community, our children will know
the difference. We must learn to communicate with honesty and integrity.
we practice effective communication, we are more able to enjoy the company of
other people, share our own thoughts and feelings, and strengthen relationships
with love and commitment. Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles taught the following about family relationships:
To be effective, family communication must
be an exchange of feelings and information. Doors of communication will swing
open in the home if members will realize time and participation on the part of
all are necessary ingredients. In family discussions, differences should not be
ignored, but should be weighed and evaluated calmly. One’s point or opinion
usually is not as important as a healthy, continuing relationship. Courtesy and
respect in listening and responding during discussions are basic in proper
dialogue. As we learn to participate together in meaningful associations, we
are able to convey our thoughts of love, dependence, and interest. When we are
inclined to give up in despair in our efforts to communicate because other
family members have failed to respond, perhaps we would do well not to give up,
but rather to give and take in our conversations. How important it is to know
how to disagree with another’s point of view without being disagreeable. How
important it is to have discussion periods ahead of decisions. Jones Stephens
wrote, “I have learned that the head does not hear anything until the heart has
listened, and that what the heart knows today the head will understand
Later in the talk, Elder Ashton taught: “If we would know true love and understanding one for another, we must realize that communication is more than a sharing of words. It is the wise sharing of emotions, feelings, and concerns. It is the sharing of oneself totally. It is the sharing of oneself totally” ( May 1976, 52).