05 April 2005

Sacrifices

I've been thinking about sacrifices. Missions are often brought up as a sacrifice, and missions certainly can be great sacrifices under certain circumstances. However, I don't know that a mission is the best example. I am learning that there are greater but less obvious sacrifices.

Cooper pointed out that serving on a jury in a trial that is discussing despicable details would be difficult. A jury is important and it is not reasonable to expect that only those who don't mind hearing about those details to serve. Serving on that jury would be a sacrifice.

I think it is possible to become too strict in one's religion to make some sacrifices. When some people have heard of our plans to go to Kyrgyzstan, they have said they wouldn't go so far from the established LDS Church. Since the Church is not recognized in Kyrgyzstan, there will be many restrictions on what we can do as members of the LDS Church. It is a good thing to be actively and socially involved in the LDS Church. But it is also a good thing to leave it behind to go to Kyrgyzstan. There are good reasons for our family to go.

There are also destructive sacrifices. I think women are particularly prone to this. Some women will give up who they are for their families. Is it good to be devoted to your family and work to help them? Of course. But is the sacrifice of a mother for her children wise? I think not. You can be a good mother without losing yourself.

What other sacrifices might we be asked to make?

12 comments:

  1. Amira, this is an excellent topic. Sacrifice is such a misunderstood concept. First, love is sacrifice. I am willing, because of my love for another, willing to put myself behind the needs of another. This is extremely different from "losing one's identity" as you state. A woman's loss of self has more to do with her self esteem, however, most often it is described as blame from, being married or having children.

    Simple forms of sacrifice - a husband who has grown up in a meticulous home, coming home to find the house in a mess. Sacrificing his tiredness from a long days work, setting aside his "entitlement" as provider, to clean the house without complaint.

    Your example of sacrificing the comfy "'neighborhood" of the gospel to go to a foreign land. This is an excellent example of how the Lord puts us in places for the betterment of others. Certainly the church is not recognized cuirrently in this area. However, has any new nation really welcomed the gospel without first having a few known LDS people pave the way? What you will do is far reaching and will not be known for years to come. Poeple become concerned because you won't have the safety net. But will you really set aside your moral paradigms to embrace life without the gospel? No. these experiences will bring even more intensity to your testimony.

    I could go on and on. However, I should let someone else have a chance.

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  2. These are good points, cooper, thank you.

    I think in the end that sacrifice depends on your attitude. Anything can seem like a sacrifice if we are angry or resentful. Even some of the most seemingly difficult sacrifices can be viewed as a blessing.

    My aunt recently died. My uncle gave up a lot to be with her the last few months of her illness, but I know he does not resent it. He was happy for every minute he had with her.

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  3. Exactly, Amira. When anger and resentlment get in the way it no longer is a sacrifice. It becomes the very worst of martyrdom that can exist. Martyrdom is probably no tthe best way to put it either.

    However, we must be careful to put anger in its proper place also. Are you angry at the person for your having to serve them? Or is it exhaustion, or your frailties feeding into the anger. My mother in law spent 6 years tending to her mother in law prior to her death. after Then shortly thereafter my father in law was given a death sentance by way of cancer. He lived 8 long years with a disease that should have ended his life in less than one. There were times when she just couldn't do any more and her feelings turned to anger. Was her life meant to be spent always tired, always empty? She would then realize she just needed some good rest and then she could return to her service again with joy. Hes has been gone now for 4 years. never has she regretted the time spent with either of them.

    So sacrifice is always a blessing. It reminds me of joseph Smith at Zion's Camp. Everyone was ill, and he was trying to do it all. The Lord warned him that he could not. We are counseled not to run faster than we can. It is good to sacrifice sometimes, in a good steady walk.

    It is also important to recognize that we are here to accept the sacrificial offering of those around us. Sometimes we find ourselves so filled with pride that we cannot accept the offerings of another. How then will we become saviors on Mount Zion if we cannot do both?

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  4. That is so true about anger. It is not unreasonable to get frustrated at times with with the sacrifices we make. I enjoy being a mother, but I certainly get angry sometimes.

    And you make an important point about accepting others' sacrifices. I'm sure we've all known people who simply cannot accept what others want to do for them.

    Thank you for this interesting discussion.

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  5. You too Amira. I just more had joined in, it really is a great topic.

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  6. I like this topic, although I have nothing specific to add right now. I'm pointing M* here.

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  7. When I was living abroad for years I had not really considered that I'd be giving up temple attendance for that same time period.

    Still, there is nothing like living abroad to provide perspective. Being in a new area, culture, political, religious atmosphere will lead you to ask gospel questions and gospel priorities you never previously considered. No doubt the people of Kyrgyzstan will have their own thoughts and questions which in turn will become important to you as well.

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  8. Thanks, Bryce.

    Dan, I can't think of going to KG as a sacrifice. I have no doubt that we will gain much more than we miss out on here. Both of us experienced that while we were in the Middle East.

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  9. There's some interesting ideas here about sacrifice in relation to anger. Cooper has said some things worth mentioning, but i'm just going to quote just Amira to make a point of contradiction.

    First,
    "I think in the end that sacrifice depends on your attitude. Anything can seem like a sacrifice if we are angry or resentful."

    This is exactly right.

    "That is so true about anger. It is not unreasonable to get frustrated at times with with the sacrifices we make. I enjoy being a mother, but I certainly get angry sometimes."

    This says quite the opposite.

    The problem I want to point to is that sacrifice is not a virtue in itself. It is not the action that counts so much as our motive for the action. When sacrifice is done altruistically it is a good thing, when it is done grudgingly, it lacks the degree of value it might have.

    It all comes down to where our hearts are. For example, someone asks a favor of you. Say you are in a state where you love your neighbor as yourself, and you seek ways to serve. You most likely do the favor happily. It may be a "sacrifice" technically speaking, as you have lost some time. But it is not an emotional sacrifice. It is not difficult or burdonsome. You are happy to do it.

    Say, however, that you are not someone who fully loves the neighbor as the self. The favor becomes a sacrifice both physically and emotionally. It is difficult and it makes you angry that you have to do it, especially when you think the person could have done it themselves and when they lack gratitude for the favor. It makes you angry and when they ask you again, you become angrier.

    My point is this. I think that sacrifice doesn't ever need to bring anger, no matter what the situation. When our hearts are in the right place, then no matter how great the sacrifice asked of us, it does not bother us, it does not make us resentful or upset.

    As Amira points out in the first quote, when we are angry and in a hard state, everything suddenly seems like a sacrifice. Even our own obligations feel like a sacrifice - and it's all an emotional sacrifice too. All it does is make you angrier that you have to do it.

    But we teach that sacrifice is a good thing, don't we? So the person in this state is convinced that he is right and justified in his sacrifice. After all, you're "sacrificing" aren't you? And sacrifice is suppose to make you happy, supposed to bring you blessings. This person is convinced that not only are his actions right, but that they're downright angelic, when all the while, he's completely wrong.

    This kind of "sacrifice" will always bring us anger, resentment, and burdensome feelings.

    Real sacrifice, which is done with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, will never bring us anger, no matter how great the sacrifice. I realize that's a bold statement. I also realize it's a very difficult statement; because sacrifice often does make us upset, and it's even more upsetting to think that those bad feeling are actually our own fault.

    There are a lot of people out there who are upset with this perspective. And I understand why. But I think this perspective is actually quite liberating. It means we really can be free of our negative emotions, and that is a wonderful hope.

    Apologies for the length.

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  10. "Real sacrifice, which is done with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, will never bring us anger, no matter how great the sacrifice. I realize that's a bold statement. I also realize it's a very difficult statement; because sacrifice often does make us upset, and it's even more upsetting to think that those bad feeling are actually our own fault."

    I completely agree. I know that when I am angry (and it really is more frustration than anger usually) it is my fault and not as a result of the sacrifices I might be making.

    I think this also relates to misunderstandings about charity. True sacrifice is charity, the pure love of Christ. But we feel that if we are being charitable that we should receive charity in return. But we forget that charity is long-suffering, in addition to other things.

    Thank you for stating this so clearly. I appreciate it. There are many things I need to work on.

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  11. "Real sacrifice, which is done with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, will never bring us anger, no matter how great the sacrifice. I realize that's a bold statement. I also realize it's a very difficult statement; because sacrifice often does make us upset, and it's even more upsetting to think that those bad feeling are actually our own fault."

    I completely agree. I know that when I am angry (and it really is more frustration than anger usually) it is my fault and not as a result of the sacrifices I might be making.

    I think this also relates to misunderstandings about charity. True sacrifice is charity, the pure love of Christ. But we feel that if we are being charitable that we should receive charity in return. But we forget that charity is long-suffering, in addition to other things.

    Thank you for stating this so clearly. I appreciate it. There are many things I need to work on.

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  12. Eric your points are well taken. Sometimes we do forget that sacrifice does need to be done with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

    I try to keep in mind: That's why they call it "sacrifice". It's all about attitude. Funny when you're actually in the groove, you don't even think of it as a sacrifice. Think about Pres. Hinckley, he's given alomost his entire life for the church. It has definitely been a sacrifice when you factor in his desire to be a journalist. I bet if you asked him he'd not even look at it as a sacrifice.

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