The theme of TENDER MERCIES to those who love the Lord stands out to me in this chapter. Nephi starts by listing some of these tender mercies. Goodly parents. Great knowledge of the goodness and mysteries of God.
“And having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days.” (1)
He trusted in God’s mercies, even when life was troubled.
Lehi prayed “with all his heart” (5) for the wicked in Jerusalem. He could’ve condemned them for what they were doing wrong (human nature likes to do that), but he prayed for them, instead.
When we are merciful to others, God is more merciful to us.
God visits him in a vision and shows him the destruction of Jerusalem and other “great and marvelous things.” (14) Lehi put his desires for their welfare into action and went out to preach, even though he was mocked for it. But he knew this one truth: No one is ever past redemption in Christ. An example of this is people of Ninevah in the Old Testament. When Jonah was sent to preach to them, they were vile and beyond wicked. Yet, they listened to him and repented and turned to the Lord.
We should never give up on someone, even if they’ve disappointed us or gone completely opposite ways. Even when the people of Jerusalem “sought [Lehi’s] life, that they might take it away” (20) he didn’t hold onto hate, bitterness, or anger (though it was deserved for the terrible way they treated him).
God asks us NOT to treat people as they deserve, but to treat them with mercy and love. It takes no effort, courage, or integrity to treat someone as they deserve. That’s easy. It takes God’s tender mercies to treat them with love, even when they are mean, spiteful, or ignorant.
I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”1 Nephi 1:20
Nephi’s account shows how important it is for each of us to write our own stories. Lehi had written much of the same information that is recorded by Nephi, but Lehi’s words were lost by Martin Harris (the 116 pages) when he asked Joseph Smith to take those plates to show his wife and prove the book translation wasn’t a hoax.
God knows all. He knew that Martin would lose those precious plates way before Lehi ever wrote down the first word. That’s why he commanded Nephi to record the same information as his father, even though Nephi didn’t understand the WHY behind it.
When I’ve read different accounts from family histories of the same event, it’s easy to see that everyone’s story is different–even about the same thing. We all bring different worldviews to the table and learn different lessons from each experience. And our lessons can help others, even if they’ve lived the same event as us.
Write down your story. Write down what lessons you learn each day, week, month or year. Write down what you learn from reading each chapter in the Book of Mormon. I promise it will probably be different than what I learn. That’s the beauty of people. We all are unique. So share your insights with those you love. And encourage them to share theirs with you.