The Real Enemy

My wife shared an insight with me recently that I felt I needed to share.  With her permission, I have done some minor editing before sharing it here.

These are the insights she had after reading 2 Nephi 5:22-27

The Lamanites are said to be a scourge to the Nephites, and this is mentioned right after they are said to be idle, full of mischief, subtlety, and seek for beasts of prey in the wilderness. To me this stood out as the main point of their scourge which is to bring the remembrance of our God.  Not war and fighting, but idleness and purposeless living. Complacency and uninspired living is the enemy. Not war.

He then goes on to say that they (the Nephites) lived after the manner of happiness, even with the wars and contention between their brothers and them. Pretty clear that happiness is about purposeful living, not if there is war or contention in the land. Not about if there is death or illness.

My thoughts inspired by my wife’s insight:

I have been a big proponent of avoiding contention.  It is something that Jesus Christ teaches in 3 Nephi 11:28-32.  The Lord teaches that contention is of the devil.  It seems to me that war is the extreme of contention, where individuals, who otherwise do not have anything to do with each other, seek to end each other’s lives over contentions based on politics, religion, race, and other differences.

But as my wife points out, happiness comes from purposeful living, not avoiding conflict and contention.  This is something we have been trying to learn.  Conflict is inevitable because everyone is imperfect, and imperfection meeting imperfection creates a potential conflict.  In other words, the key to happiness is not in avoiding conflict, but in transcending it.  Purposeful living is what makes transcendence possible.  In every success literature that I have read, there is a common theme, which is illustrated by an analogy.  Our life is like a path.  Along that path we meet obstacles, such as death, illness, infirmities, conflicts, contentions, etc.  People will only attempt what they believe they are capable of accomplishing.  Without a purpose, which is visible above the obstacle, there is no reason to believe and fight against the obstacle.

What do you think?  Is purposeless living the real enemy in life, or is it the obstacles which are placed in our way?

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