They Bore with Patience the Persecution – Alma 1:21-22, 25

21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.
22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists….
25 Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.
Patient people absorb contention. Rather than lash out at their attackers, they maintain their calmness under pressure. In the passage above, Mormon describes two groups of people. Both groups were members of the church, and both groups were subject to the intense persecution that the church was experiencing at the time. The first group responded in kind: fighting back, escalating the contention, and even becoming violent in defending the church. The second group was “steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.” Ironically, many of the people who fought vigorously to defend the church became so proud and hardened that they drove themselves out of the church (see verse 24). Their passionate and impatient defense of truth had the effect of driving the truth out of their lives.
Today, I will be patient and civil toward those who disagree with me, even if I am convinced that I am right. I will remember that a contentious argument in favor of a true idea may do more harm than good, and that it is more important to live the principles of the gospel than to right all of the wrongs I see around me.
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