Alma 59 – Righteous Indignation

Moroni rejoices over Helaman’s success in the other quarter of the land. He immediately sends a letter to Pahoran to send men to strengthen Helaman’s armies that “he might with ease maintain that part of the land which he had been so miraculously prospered in regaining.” (3)

The Lamanites attack Nephihah. There is a great slaughter and they take over the city Moroni hadn’t thought could be retaken. He had thought Pahoran would’ve sent strength to that city already, “knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.” (9) Now his hopes are crushed because everyone’s not doing their job.  

 In our lives, it is easier to maintain our righteousness and faith in Jesus Christ than to suffer ourselves to be overtaken by the evil one and have lots to repent of later. Repentance is miraculous and transforming, but it is a hard process when we have fallen completely and have much ground to regain in our spiritual life.

Moroni “was exceedingly sorrowful” (11) at first, but that turns into righteous indignation “with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.” (13)

He’s working his men with all the energy of his soul to retake their lands and keep the Lamanites out, and then when he leaves and expects the people and government to step up to the plate, they strike out. He feels they don’t care as he does, and he feels their sins are leading to Lamanites success.

To me, this shows how easy it is for us to assume false motives for others and get worked up into righteous indignation. That’s a natural emotion, and sometimes it is justified. Only in this scenario, Moroni as assumed wrongly that Pahoran is indifferent or opposing freedom, when he isn’t.

Let us be careful in our assumptions and judgments of others.

It is very easy to assign motives to others that think differently than us, or maybe judge them when they don’t do something we think they ought to have done, that end up being false judgments. I have seen many posts on social media written by people I admire and respect that have come across as hateful and judgmental. I have seen posts that judge a whole group of people as unworthy or sinful for believing one way that is different than the one who posts, judging the others as lacking spirituality or education if they don’t agree with them.

These people are caught up in “righteous indignation” and believe they are teaching the rest of us the “right” way, when maybe we have legitimate concerns and beliefs they have not considered yet on the opposing side.

I find the most vocal, judgmental people are usually the most ignorant. They might be smart, but they refuse to consider or even listen to opposing views, which could open their minds up so much more to truth, even if it doesn’t change their minds on a certain matter. I find when I listen to opposing views, I become more empathetic to the various ways people can think. My love for them grows, even if we still don’t see eye to eye.

My son just returned from his mission in Eastern Europe. He was talking to me about people there and how many of them don’t work. He said at first, he considered them lazy, but as he talked with many of them over his two years in different countries, he heard many stories of people who would get work for 3 to 5 days, they would work hard for that person, and then the person would not pay them. After experiencing not getting paid for honest work they’ve done, they became cynical, not willing to work anymore because life has taught them that employers are dishonest and probably won’t pay them. So, why work? In their minds, it’s better to not go to the effort to work, since they won’t get paid anyway.

Things are not always as they seem. That’s a good thing to remember before getting worked up into righteous indignation. There are times that such feelings are necessary and even justified, but let us not jump to the worst conclusions about others so easily.

Let us seek for the Spirit’s influence and still small voice in our life, to whisper when we should get worked into righteous indignation and when we should look at things with more mercy and understanding, giving people the benefit of the doubt.

If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these comments.

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