WHO IS THE THIEF?
Example 1: A young man breaks into the home and takes the owner’s personal treasures. The home owner had worked overtime for a couple of years by “the sweat of his brow” to earn his treasures.
His “harvest” for his “sowing” was now stolen by the young man.
Example 2: The young man has been smoking marijuana for a couple of years and more recently started selling it. He has lied, been disobedient, and only occasionally went to Church and family activities. He has never experienced any serious consequences for his disruptive behavior until he was arrested for taking the home owner’s treasures. The cops search his bed room and find a stolen gun and pot. The parents intervene – they get a loan, get a lawyer, and get him out of juvenile detention. He ends up with one misdemeanor charge. The young man had worked hard to develop drug using criminal lifestyle over the past couple of years.
His “harvest” for his “sowing” was now stolen by the parents.
LAW OF JUSTICE & LAW OF THE HARVEST
The Law of Justice is – an eternal law that requires a penalty EACH time a law of God is broken (Alma 42:13–24). The sinner must pay the penalty if he does not repent (Mosiah 2:38–39; D&C 19:17). If he or she does repent, the Savior pays the penalty through the Atonement, invoking mercy (Alma 34:16).
The Law of the Harvest is – The Apostle Paul stated an eternal law when he declared that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7.) The analogy of sowing and reaping is one favored by the prophets of old and by the Lord himself. (See, for example, Job 4:8; Prov. 22:8; D&C 6:33.) A Book of Mormon prophet quoted the Lord as saying, “If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction” (Mosiah 7:31).
The Laws of Justice and of the Harvest are unchanging eternal everlasting laws created by God for a reason. Simply said:
This “reward system” is the basis of God’s Plan of Salvation with eternal implications.
An organization or individual interfering with the “harvest-consequences” sown by another person – whether the consequences are good or bad – is a serious concern.
It’s the Law.
Now why is it so important that God connect behavior with consequences?
I’m guessing there are many but as a psychologist here’s one.
MOTIVATE AND CHANGE BEHAVIOR
We as psychologists for years have recognized the importance of these eternal laws in changing and motivating behavior. For example:
B.F. Skinner promoted the concept of learning by consequences in his book “Science and Human Behavior.” He believed with “reinforcement and punishment” alone, he could control a child’s destiny- “Give me a child and I’ll shape him into anything.”
Numerous parenting approaches emphasize the need for “consequences” in raising kids. For example, Love and Logic – Helping Parents & Teachers Raise Responsible Kids. Sometimes providing natural consequences is also referred to as “Tough Love“.
And what about our LDS Doctrines?
In addition to the Laws of the Harvest and Justice – numerous doctrines suggest an individual will be held accountable for his / her behavior: Agency and Accountability, Second Article of Faith, The Final Judgment Day, and many others.
Here are some specific references. In the out of print LDS Church manual “Resource Manual for Helping Families with Alcohol Problems” instructions are given how to help an alcoholic:
Love is often difficult to show, especially when it results in pain. When someone we love abuses alcohol or other drugs that are harmful our tendency is to help him out of his problems because we love him … The problem drinker must experience for himself the consequences of his drinking … Circumstances and inescapable choices motivate change … (pg. 99)
Richard G. Scott shared
“Parents, don’t make the mistake of purposefully intervening to soften or eliminate the natural consequences for your child’s deliberate decisions to violate the commandments. Such acts reinforce false principles, open the door for more serious sin, and lessen the likelihood of repentance.”
(The Power of Correct Principles Ensign, May 1993)
TOO OFTEN THESE LAWS SEEM “BROKEN”
Satan recognizing the power of The Laws of Justice and the Harvest in motivating and changing behavior, he has successfully “watered them down” in our society. He causes great damage by removing postponing expected consequences to immoral “bad” behavior. Each of us can readily identify examples of where “a given immoral ‘bad’ behavior didn’t result in the expected negative consequence – yet! ”
One should be careful messing around with God’s Laws….
Manipulating the system to comply with God’s Laws. Recently, I was working with the parents of a wayward child. It took over a year of constant strategies with the school and local police before we were able to generate any type of effective consequence for his disruptive behavior. (Although he had repeatedly violated numerous minor laws.)
Refiner’s Fire: Fire Extinguisher vs Firewood
After 30+ years of years delivering mental health services, I have learned most reach for the “fire extinguisher” when they see the “refiner’s fire” burning. (Like the parents of the young man in the above example). However, I have now learned the importance and power of attaching consequences to immoral “bad” behavior if behavior change is desired. In fact, now when I see the “refiner’s fire” burning I find it more effective to “throw on some firewood”. (See: Hebrews 5:8)
BUT THESE LAWS ARE NOT “REALLY” BROKEN
Although it may appear that organizations, you and I may disconnect “consequence from a behavior” and break The Laws of Justice and of the Harvest. We do not. “What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.” (Alma 42:24–25.) It is Christ who gives the increase / reward or the decrease /punishment for each of our behaviors. He is the “Lord of the harvest” (Alma 26:7)
The only exception to you and I not “harvesting” the consequences of our behavior is Christ’s atonement. When the Savior carried out the Atonement, He took our sins upon Himself. He ALONE is able to “answer the ends of the law” (2 Nephi 2:7) because He subjected Himself to the penalty that the laws required for our sins. In doing so, He “satisfied the demands of justice” and extended mercy to everyone who repents and follows Him (see Mosiah 15:9; Alma 34:14-16). Because He has paid the price for our sins, we will not have to suffer our “harvest / punishment” if we repent (see D&C 19:15-20).
Ponder your life and relationships.
Are you a thief?
If the answer is yes, consider changing.
“The wicked may prosper for a time, the rebellious may seem to profit by their transgressions, but the time is coming when, at the bar of justice, all men will be judged, ‘every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) No one will ‘get by’ with anything. On that day no one will escape the penalty of his deeds, no one will fail to receive the blessings he has earned. . . . There will be total justice” (Spencer, W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness , 305).
dr rick’s index