Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Corintumr's March/ Contention and Covenants
Helaman 1: 13-34
Quote: When one discovers the true meaning of contentment, they let go of the need for contention. LShaw
vs 18 And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla.
Contention: A heated disagreement.
Quote: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln
I recently entertained a young boy visitor who played amid my yard, porch and home. While here there were a few instances that caused him concern. His earnest desire for justice caused a few "disagreements". He was quick to point out, "That is right. That is not right." When he could not understand why something that was right was not seen by everyone as being "right", his frustration mounted upon itself until we could help him understand or have others make amends.
As I watched him, I could see how easy it was for him to discern right from wrong. He knew it, he knew he knew it, and his frustration came when others did not agree with his sense of rightness, or worse when their viewpoints over facts were not the same as his.
Children learn about justice on a timeline. They have to experience certain events in their lives that help them learn about right and wrong. For my young visitor, it was easy for him to see how he viewed right and wrong, but for older children the concept changes as they mature and learn to see multiple viewpoints. Contention arise then when we are unable to see another's viewpoint, understand why their view may be different, or make amends for the differences.
With every disagreement comes the choice between arguing and discussion. Arguing leads to hurt feelings. Arguing leads to miscommunication. It leads to disorder that then leads to the letting of our guards down. We become distracted by the emotional turmoil in our lives and find that we are unable to protect what we hold most dear, the desires of our hearts, the love of our family, community, or nation.
Discussion that is free from selfishness or greed for power helps to open up lines of communication that brings multiple solutions to the problem. Discussion allows for all voices to be heard and all parties to meet their needs satisfactorily. It helps others find peace.
As I read the remainder of this chapter, I was struck how much turmoil entered into the city of Zarahemla after they began to disrespect and disavow their covenants with God. Pahoran Sn. was a mighty leader who fought for the liberty and freedom of all the citizens of Zarahemla. His sons seemed to forget this principal when they "contend" for their father's justice seat. In the end all three loose their lives. Why did this happen? Because they allowed contention to rule their lives.
When they forgot to keep their sacred covenants, their hearts turned away from what they held most dear and began to turn to lustful, selfish, prideful behavior. These then in turn fueled the fire to their arguing and having heated contentions
With contention ruling the emotional state of the city, the city was left unattended, unguarded, and wrong assumptions were made concerning their enemies. It was within one short year that Coriantumr was able to call an army, drive it into the heart of Zarahemla, and destroy not only the city, but it's government as well.
When you realize the speed at which it all occurred, it gives you cause for pause. When you take time to "liken" the scriptures you realize how dangerous a weapon contentious attitudes are. It is important to understand that in this story, the contention did not begin with the Lamanites. It began within the walls of the city of Zarahemla, within the walls of Pahorhan's family, within the government of the people. Contention led to the disavowment of sacred covenants. Contention led to the falling of the guards. Contention allowed hatred, jealousy, envy, and various other seeds of evil to grow within the hearts of those who entertained it.
When you are faced with a disagreement, an accusation, an inconvenience, a dislike, a wrong, how do you react? Do you entertain contentious attitudes that bring on arguments, anger, and the loss of protection from evil?
Words and Phrases
Coriantumr - descendant of Zarahemla (once righteous Nephite) strong, wise, quick
vs 18 because of so much contention - no guards and a lack of wise judgment on the part of the enemy.
If we take this story and liken it to our own hearts, how often do we allow contention to weaken our resolve to protect our most precious desires of righteousness and family? If I think back to the last time I did something that I truly regretted, contention usually led the way.
Contention makes it possible for us to turn a blind eye, to misjudge our enemy, and to allow the enemy to gain a foothold upon our heart.
vs 19 - no time to gather together their armies. - contention blinds us to the reality of the danger. Contention robs us of precious time with those we love. Contention causes us to not protect our homes, our hearts, and our family against that which will cut us down.
vs 20 Coriantumr did cut down - Coriantumr is like a disease that once it gets a foothold upon our being racks through all of our body until it destroys us. .. First the evil gains entrance, then it marches into the center of the body until it has possession of it.
vs 21 thus ended the days of Pacumeni - The first thing to go when disease or evil sets in is the government., the order, the hope of organization. Coriantumr slew the chief judge, by doing so he won the right to rule with chaos.
vs 22 go forth against all the land- Contention is never satisfied. If you doubt me consider the last argument you participated in. Someone is always trying to get the last word. Contention is never satisfied. Once it gains one body of ground, it continues onward to all it can conquer. To all who are unguarded.
vs 27 - slaying people with great slaughter - Contention knows no respect for whom it will destroy. It slays both women, children, men, weak, strong, whomever it can lay ahold of. Contention also makes no rational sense. If you look at the plan of attack of Coriantumr, you see it did not take into account the fortresses that surrounded Zarahemla, nor did he consider a plan of escape. Contention is arrogant, unyielding, and uncompromising to rational behavior.