As I prepared my SS lesson last night (yeah, last min, my fun SIL was in town) I thought of Alma giving his sons his last words of wisdom... What would I say to my children? He shared his conversion story. He bore his testimony. (Why is it important for children to hear their parents bear their testimonies? In what ways have your parents' testimonies influenced your life?) He praised them and encouraged them to keep up the good work. The tone of the message to each one is loving and fatherly...
And to his prodigal son... (Alma 39:7) "I would not dwell upon your crimes to harrow up your soul if it were not for your good." Alma's love for this son is clear as he carefully points another way, moving him toward the light. He does not disdain this boy or call him names. He does not confine Corianton into a position of hopelessness or paint him into a corner. We cannot see Alma telling his son that he is a wretch, an embarrassment. Instead, he calmly and forcefully tells the truth. Repent and do them no more. You knew better. Turn to the Lord with all your mind, might and strength. Acknowledge your faults. And then he speaks to him about the Savior... the atonement... the ONLY way back. Our Father with his tender mercies... loves us and provided a way! Alma taught in a calm manner and with great power, and Corianton does ultimately respond and repent.
Every child of God does not walk a straight path back to the kingdom of God, and blessed is the parent who will never, never, never give up. Parents are often given eyes to see the eternal nature and possibilities for their children, when all the current evidence and behavior screams the contrary. "You cannot fool me; I see you there. I see beyond your disguises and masks, and I know who you are," says the wise parent with a stewardship over a difficult child.
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