The Sifting

I’ve been thinking about sifting and what it means.

Until recently I had thought it was removing the undesirable parts (aka people) from the church. So I was looking at the people who I thought weren’t choosing the correct things or weren’t living the way God would want them to live. Basicly I was being extremely judgemental. Super easy to do, right? Now in John 7 it says 24 aJudge not according to bthe cappearance, but judge righteous judgment. So I was vindicated or justified in my judgement based on this scripture right? Um, no. My jusdgement wasn’t righteous. I am not correct in all things. Also I don;t actually know all the details of the lives of others.

So let’s go back to a few scriptures that mention sifting.

Isaiah 30:28 And his abreath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the bneck, to sift the nations with the sieve of cvanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.

Luke 22:31 ¶ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, aSatan hath desired to bhave you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Alma 37:15 And now behold, I tell you by the spirit of prophecy, that if ye transgress the commandments of God, behold, these things which are sacred shall be taken away from you by the power of God, and ye shall be delivered up unto Satan, that he may sift you as chaff before the wind.

After I looked at those scriptures I went to see what church leaders have said about sifting and I found this quote from the April 2009 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where Dallin H Oaks said:

Jesus cautioned that Satan desires to sift us like wheat (see Luke 22:313 Nephi 18:18), which means to make us common like all those around us. But Jesus taught that we who follow Him should be precious and unique, “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and “the light of the world,” to shine forth to all men (Matthew 5:14, 16; see also 3 Nephi 18:24).

We do not serve our Savior well if we fear man more than God. He rebuked some leaders in His restored Church for seeking the praise of the world and for having their minds on the things of the earth more than on the things of the Lord (see D&C 30:258:39). Those chastisements remind us that we are called to establish the Lord’s standards, not to follow the world’s. Elder John A. Widtsoe declared, “We cannot walk as other men, or talk as other men, or do as other men, for we have a different destiny, obligation, and responsibility placed upon us, and we must fit ourselves [to it].”6 That reality has current application to every trendy action, including immodest dress. As a wise friend observed, “You can’t be a life saver if you look like all the other swimmers on the beach.”7

Here is the thought I had that made me start looking into the meaning of these things….

What if the sifting is not to get rid of the people in the church who aren’t fully living the Gospel? What if, instead, the sifting is meant to make us better and kinder and more accepting of others regardless of their choices? What if the sifting is for us to find out what kind of people we really are?

If this is the case then I have some work to do.

Let’s do some scenarios as examples. Which do you think Christ would approve of more?

If a person comes to church dressed in a way that I feel is inappropriate and I avoid or judge or gossip about them or if I sit next to them and ask them questions so i can get to know them better?

If someone chooses to sleep in on Sunday or go fishing or go to the farmers market rather than come to church. Is it better for me to avoid associating with them or to find other times that we can be friends and I find ways to help and serve them?

What about bringing it to the more divisive topics of today? If a person chooses to get vaccinated and wear a mask (or vice versa) and I have a completely opposite view of that, is it better for me to bully that person and look down on them and get angry or maybe I could talk to them and find the reasons for their position. It might not change my mind but it certainly could help me understand rather than making assumptions.

What if we could use the divisiveness and the anger and the discouragement that seems to surround us to become better?

I saw an ad for a tshirt on Instagram that says “Stop being the bigger person. Slash their tires.” I know it was meant to be funny and, believe me, I have a sense of humor, but it wasn’t funny to me. I’m sad about all of the disagreement and hostility. We definitely don’t need to be carrying around angry messages on our clothes too.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. And here’s the thing – if I’m off on what I am thinking about the sifting, well, it can’t hurt us to be a little kinder and more patient with each other, right?

Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash


One thought on “The Sifting

  1. Michael Christensen says:

    What a great question! Thank you for exploring this topic. I wonder if sifting feels like being “driven with the wind and tossed” as we try to keep up with the ever-changing beliefs of the world. I completely agree that we should not attempt to sift people away from church and God. We should embrace people and serve them.

    Liked by 2 people

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