Monday, March 7, 2011


The following is an excerpt from, "Be and Not Seem" - Elder MARION D. HANKS
"Vanity it is, to wish to live long, and to be careless to live well. [Thomas å Kempis, Of the Imitation of Christ, chapter 1]

Vanity it is, I add, and foolishness indeed, to pretend--to say and not to do, to seem and not to be.

In its worst form, that is hypocrisy. In its best form, I suppose, it might be thought to be pursuing the "as if" principle--that is, to say to oneself, "I will behave as if I were honest, decent, moral, courteous, gracious, sensitive, and courageous; and in so behaving, I will acquire the capacities, make the habits, and become capable of being all those things."

I suspect that most of us fall some place in between. We do not savor, and in fact sicken at, the thought that we are hypocrites, and yet we do so much to be seen of men. We sometimes say that which will tickle the ears of men. We pretend, knowing that in our own quiet places--our closets or, wherever the place, our minds--we are not what we seem.

That is not to suggest that only the perfect may act with credibility in matters of important principles. All of us fall short and are inevitably visited with the pangs and pains of our own failures; there is a universal understanding of that, since none of us is exempt from it. But to deliberately pretend, to put on a show, to give long prayers when we have devoured the widow's house, to do less than we can and should and pretend to do, to go through motions--not because they are honest efforts to do better, but simply to try falsely to fit somebody's conception of what we are--all of this is vanity and foolishness indeed. Christ's life, His instruction, and His testimony centered in being what we ought to be. And there is great room in His holy heart to forgive when we fall short in genuinely trying to be what we ought to be.

Early this morning, under the heading "be and not seem," I noted for myself an idea or two about Him, and I share them with you. These thoughts are not a pretense at comprehensive scholarship but simply an expression of what in Him seems to me at this hour to be so admirable and beautiful and worthy of emulation. I noted first His acute awareness and sensitivity to the lives and needs of others, to the point that the woman in the mob who touched the hem of His garment found response, not only in her own well-being but in His knowledge of the incident. He knew He had been touched, though ever so lightly. And when He mentioned it, His disciples, seeing the thronging multitudes, wondered how He could ask such a question. Who had touched Him? Many were touching Him. But one touched Him with a special need and a heart ready for the response, and He knew it. (See Mark 5:25-­34; Luke 8:43-­48.)

Another characteristic of the Lord was His acceptance of others as they were without the intention to leave them as they were. He could heal the body, bless the mind, and help change the soul of one who was willing--the prodigal, Zaccheus, Magdalene. Remember also that moment on the cross when He forgave. Most of all, I am touched by that tender time when a father who loved his ailing son, and who had sought help from the disciples and had not received it, presented himself to the Lord pleading for help. To him the Lord said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Do you think that one who has not loved a son might have a little less sensitivity to this. But with his heart and his life hanging on his son's well-being, when he was asked if he had faith he answered, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." He did not have perfect faith, but he knew to whom he spoke and trusted in Him. (See Mark 9:17­-27.) Oh, how I love and need that!

The reason that I choose this part is because it strikes me as the most important in my life. To wish to live long and to be careless to live well. And then with the plea help thou my unbelief. It will make more sense tomorrow, but I was researching, reading, studying and found this and it helped me understand a little better so I thought I would share this with you and hope that it helps you.

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