thank thee; ..." --Alma 31:17
We are grateful for righteous leaders who teach by example.
Last evening, President Boyd K Packer spoke in a CES Broadcast to Young Single Adults. "All truth is worth knowing. Some truths are more useful, but there are truths that are most worth knowing."
He spoke of "a puzzle" in the scriptures about justice and mercy, "two seemingly conflicting principles." He related a parable in modern language to illustrate how Christ's atonement makes it possible for individuals to be saved from sin if they do their part.
The parable tells of a man who, in order to acquire something he wanted very much, incurred a great debt although he had been warned about going into debt and particularly about the creditor. The debtor signed a contract with the lender and didn't worry about repaying the debt since the due date seemed a long time off. Eventually, the contract fell due and the creditor demanded payment in full. Only then did the debtor realize that his creditor not only had the power to repossess all that he owed but also the power to cast him into debtor's prison. The debtor pled for mercy, the creditor demanded justice.
"There they were: one meting out justice, the other pleading for mercy. Neither could prevail except at the expense of the other," President Packer said. " 'If you do not forgive the debt, there will be no mercy,' the debtor pleaded. 'If I do, there will be no justice,' was the reply.
"Both laws, it seemed, could not be served. Mercy cannot rob justice. Each is an eternal ideal that appears to contradict the other. Is there no way for justice to be fully served and mercy also?
"There is a way. The law of justice can be fully satisfied and mercy can be fully extended, but it takes someone else. And so it happened this time."
President Packer said the debtor had a friend who, although thinking the debtor foolish to have gotten himself into such a predicament, loved him and stepped between him and the creditor as mediator. The friend told the creditor, " 'You demanded justice. Although he cannot pay you, I will do so. You have been justly dealt with and can ask no more. That would be just.' " The mediator said to the debtor, "If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?"
" 'Oh, yes,' cried the debtor. 'You saved me from prison and show mercy to me."
" 'Then,' " said the mediator, 'you will pay the debt to me, and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.' "
President Packer said, "Unless there is a mediator, unless we have a friend, the full weight of justice, untempered and unsympathetic, must, positively must fall on us. The full penalty for every transgression, however minor or however deep, will be exacted from us to the uttermost farthing.
"There is a Mediator, a Redeemer who stands both willing and able to appease the demands of justice and extend mercy to those who are penitent.
"We all live on spiritual credit. In one way or another, the account builds. If you pay it off as you go, you have little need to worry. Soon you begin to learn discipline and know that there is a day of reckoning ahead. Learn to keep your spiritual account paid off at regular intervals rather than allowing it to collect interest and penalties."
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that relief from torment and guilt can be earned through repentance. "Save for those few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense, small or large, which is exempt from the promise of complete forgiveness. No matter what has happened in your life, the Lord has prepared a way back if you will heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit."