Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Dear precious women,
If you recently found this card, please know that there is a group of Christian women in San Antonio, Texas who love you very much. I recently brought some members of this group to Salt Lake City in hopes of sharing with you Jesus’ message of peace and rest.
I know that you work very, very hard in your Ward and Stake activities in order to try and prove yourself worthy to live with heavenly father. Your callings keep you very busy as do all your normal activities associated with having a family and trying to raise your children to be moral and upstanding citizens. Having such high standards is commendable, but I want to let you know that Jesus taught that we can never prove ourselves worthy enough to live with God. That’s why these verses in Mathew are so important for you to understand. In order to have the rest that Jesus offers, we must come to Jesus on His terms. I’d like to share two examples where the words of Jesus illustrate what His terms are.
Luke 7:1-10 tells the story of when Jesus was approached by Jewish elders. A gentile centurion had a beloved servant who was sick, so he sent the elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his servant. The elders explained to Jesus that the centurion was “worthy” of this request. While Jesus was on the way, the centurion sent another message to Jesus. The man did not give Jesus a list of all the good deeds he had done or try to convince Jesus of his worthiness. On the contrary, he told Jesus that he was unworthy, so Jesus should not even come to his house, but just speak the word for his servant’s healing. When Jesus heard that this man was “unworthy,” he did not turn around and go home. He told the crowd around him that this Gentile man’s faith was greater than the faith he had seen from any Jew and so healed his servant. The words of Jesus Himself show that great faith involves acknowledging your unworthiness to Christ, not trying to prove worthiness.
The next example in Luke 18:9-14 is even more powerful. Jesus specifically spoke this parable to those who believed themselves to be worthy. He tells the story of a Pharisee being in the temple and “praying” to God. The Pharisee gives God a list of all the great things he does and all the evil things that he refrains from. On the other hand, a tax collector nearby had an entirely different prayer. This man recognized the depth of his sinful heart and couldn’t even lift his eyes to heaven. He didn’t go home and “clean up his act” and hen come to God to show how much he had accomplished. He fell to his knees, acknowledged his sin, and asked for God’s mercy.
I am so grateful that Jesus Himself gives us the assessment of how He views the faith of these two men. Jesus said the tax collector, not the Pharisee, went home justified before God. It’s obvious from this story that acknowledgement of sin and relying wholly on God is what brings someone forgiveness, not trying to prove worthiness and merit forgiveness. If we merit forgiveness, the word “mercy” has no meaning, because only those who are needy need mercy.
I know that sometimes LDS friends of mine have had the false idea that Christians don’t think that good works are important. We do, but the motivation is different. A basic analysis of how LDS view good works could be summed up:
Faith + good works = forgiveness
The Bible has always taught something else:
Faith = forgiveness + good works
You see, good works are part of the equation, they’re just on the other side of the equal sign. This indicates that they are the natural result of having faith and forgiveness. I do my good works because I am forgiven, not in order to become forgiven. (Please see the references at the bottom of the page if you’d like to do further study.)
There’s so much more I could say, but just know that following Jesus is not something that should drive us to depression and despair. The reason we included the anti-depressant pills on this picture is because we know that working so hard and never knowing if you’ve done enough is very common among LDS women. (Please also check out the articles referenced at the bottom of the page) We want you to know the easy yoke and the light burden that Jesus offers as a free gift. Won’t you “come unto Him” today and ask Him to take your heavy burden?
Additional biblical references for study:
- John 3:14-18
- John 5:39-40
- Romans 4:1-8
- Romans 5:1-10
- Romans 10:1-13
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- Titus 3:5-7
- Hebrews 10:14-18
- 1st John 5:9-13
Online articles regarding depression in Utah:
Ministries in Utah: