Cover image via Gospel Media Library.
I recently got a text from an elder serving in our ward. He was asking several people this question: What has Jesus Christ done for you? I thought about the zillion (yes, that’s an accurate number) of things He has done for all of us, another zillion for me personally, and tried to answer succinctly.
I thought about writing, “It would be easier to list all the things He hasn’t done.” And then I remembered that all the hurts, disappointments and injustices of life have been done by mortals—not a single one by our Savior. When we go down the rabbit hole of self-pity and consider all the thoughtless and even cruel things people have done to us, let’s remember that Christ has never—to anyone—done the following:
Belittled or made fun of you.
Said one thing but did another.
Promised to help, but then got too busy.
Gave you an unkind label.
Forced you to do something you didn’t want to do.
Gossiped about you.
Joined a crowd in persecuting you.
Been unfair with you.
Said you were stupid/ugly/worthless.
Rolled His eyes about something you said.
Competed with you to show you up.
Said someone else was His favorite.
Tattled to others about the mistakes you’ve made.
Starved or beaten you.
Stolen from you.
I could go on, listing dozens of hurts inflicted by mortals. We all wade through the flawed treatment common to mankind. Yet Christ has never once been anything but loving, generous, forgiving, and heroic. Perhaps the word “awesome” should have been reserved for Him only.
Who is more tender, more eager to see us improve? Who gives us the very commandments that can ensure our happiness? Who has promised to be our advocate with the Father, and wants every one of us to make it home again? Our wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ.
When we stumble, and we feel ashamed, pouring out our hearts and our regret in prayer, who is swiftest to forgive? Our Savior. Who allows trials so that we can grow—and is there to succor us, teach us, and help us through them? Jesus.
He doesn’t wait until our life is over to heal our souls. He helps us now, in our time of need. He inspires us and gives us revelation through the Holy Ghost. He anguishes when we sin, and reaches out to help us back. He surprises us with little gifts we need, coincidences that cannot be coincidences.
He has patiently taught us the way to attain Eternal Life. He has stood at our side through our worst ordeals. He has granted miracles. He has been our greatest friend.
Under Heavenly Father’s direction, He created the heavens and the earth (D & C 14:9). He has restored His original gospel in these latter days, that we might obey, and come unto Him.
He has given us the chance to be sealed eternally to our families. He has given His Priesthood to men on earth, that we might have saving ordinances. He has surrounded us with good people to be our friends. Yes, there are bad people out there. But we can always find diamonds in the mix, those people who are striving to live the commandments, and want to help us do the same.
He submitted to the evil men who crucified him, to obey the plan of His Father, and ensure our resurrection.
And, greatest of all, He has suffered for every anguish, illness, sorrow, and sin we have ever—or will ever—endure. He has paid the price for all our mistakes. All we must do is repent and our errors are wiped clean. His atoning sacrifice for us is so beyond comprehension that we cannot imagine its depths or intensity. We can only shed tears of humble gratitude that it’s there. It’s real. And it’s for every single one of us.
And what has the Light of the World asked in return? To repent, and to love and serve him. In no way has He asked us to equal His phenomenal gifts. In fact, He seems to delight in this imbalance of scales—it’s as if He wants to shower us with far more than we deserve, just to underscore how much He loves us. And He asks so little in return.
As we look at these two lists, let us leave the mistreatment list behind, forgive and move on. I don’t mean to suggest that it’s easy, but it is do-able, especially with His help. Let us meditate upon the amazing blessings we have through our Savior. His are the actions that should fill our hearts and minds. His are the traits we should emulate as we strive to become more like Him.
Let’s deliberately look for examples of His love every day. Let’s share them with others. Let’s write them down. As we grow closer to Him, we’ll see these gifts unfurl, like a bud opening into a magnificent flower that just keeps unfolding. Will our hardships and problems vanish? No. But we’ll see how much they are surpassed by God’s blessings. And that helps us stay grateful. We are not as easily sidetracked by misfortune, but can view it in proper proportion. What has Jesus done for you? Everything.
Hilton is an award-winning playwright and the author of many best-selling LDS books. Those, her humor blog, and YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.