Note: This post was first published yesterday as a guest post on a most wonderful blog "We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ". The entire month of October has been a Book of Mormon Forum. (See button to the right) I highly recommend spending some time clicking through the blog hops and articles. Here's the post:
Yes, I am probably the only person who would ever reference "The Emperor's New Groove" when discussing sacred texts. (If you haven't seen the movie, you are missing out - but I digress...)
As the Emperor Kuzco is introducing his advisor Yzma, he momentarily focuses on a piece of something that is wedged between her teeth. (I'm sure glad that has never happened to me.) It got me wondering about proper etiquette in this situation.
So I asked my lovely EC (eternal companion) a simple question that I pose to all of you:
If you are out to lunch with your friends, and something unsightly becomes stuck in your teeth, would you want one of your friends to:
a) Discreetly tell you ASAP.
b) Wait until you get in the parking lot and then tell you.
c) Not tell you at all, and let you discover it for yourself, later.
My wife immediately said "A". She told me that it would be embarrassing, but that a true friend would not make her wait to find out - and that she might even be a bit disappointed in a friend that left her hanging. Coming home from lunch and finding the offending piece of lettuce is not a good feeling. (For guys it's a little easier - they would just point, laugh and say "Dude, that's disgusting" - leaving the offender wondering what they are talking about.)
Basically, the point I am trying to make, is that a true friend - the best kind of friend - is not willing to spare you a little discomfort in order to help you. We all need those kind of friends.
However, we live in a world where everyone is highly focused on telling each other that they are just fine. You are special just the way you are! *kiss kiss*. People love to excuse themselves by saying "If you love me, you'll accept me the way I am." That is so much nonsense! We excel at self-justification, and crave to be around people who indulge us. "Enabling" has become a common word in the vocabulary of modern relationships.
In the recent General Conference, the Apostle D. Todd Christofferson said:
"If we do not invite others to change, or if we do not demand repentance of ourselves, we fail in a fundamental duty we owe to one another and ourselves. A permissive parent, an indulgent friend, a fearful church leader are in reality more concerned about themselves than the welfare and happiness of those they could help." (Full address here)
Yikes! An Apostle telling us to step out of our comfort zones and to be true friends? Yup. But at the same time, we know that a true friend is there when we need advice, when we are struggling, and when we need comfort. No one wants a friend whose sole mission in life is to point out our flaws - just one who loves us enough to be willing to do it when necessary.
I would like to introduce you to a true friend:
This book is one of my best friends. It is there to:
-comfort me when I am grieving,
-counsel me when I am struggling,
-give me peace when I am in turmoil,
-call me out when I need it.
It is not a book that indulges me in my shortcomings, and when I think I am doing just fine *kiss kiss*, the Lord's prophets tell me things like this:
"And others he will pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea Zion prospereth, all is well - and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
Apparently I DO have something in my teeth! And my fly is down.
Some of the greatest examples of true friends were Book of Mormon prophets who were called to deliver hard messages to people that did not want to hear them. Samuel the Lamanite delivered his message as the arrows rained down around him. Do you think Nephi ever had a better friend?
Abinadi was burned at the stake for preaching to people who had no interest in what he had to say - except one. Alma. Can you imagine the great reunion between Alma and Abinadi in the next life?
The Book of Mormon is a true friend. It teaches us of our Saviors love, it teaches us how to follow him. It also calls us out and helps us as we try to become more like Him.
Isn't that what a true friend does?