Larry and I were watching “The Hobbit” last night. It has just come out on blue ray, and Larry bought it for me as a surprise. And although it doesn’t hold the same depth for me as “The Lord of the Rings,” I have found nuggets of truth in the journey of these dwarves and Bilbo Baggins. In one scene in particular, Gandalf, the wizard, is in Rivendell, speaking to Galadriel when he says,”Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that’s not what I find. I find it’s the small things; everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.”
We are those ordinary folk, and we have more power than we think through “simple acts of kindness and love.” Some people find great power in opposing things with which they don’t agree, and I applaud those with a passionate response. But for me, I find the best way to handle those kinds of things is by simply showing a different path by “simple acts.”
In my last post titled “Spiritual Respect,” I state that we can find some of our greatest power when we refuse to allow someone else’s actions to determine how we’re going to behave. This allows us to be responsive instead of reactionary. I wrote about how the Savior was unmoved from His mission, in spite of the betrayal and actions of those who were trying to force Him to denounce His divine identity as the Son of God. For us, that means anything that mirrors the Savior’s teachings or behavior can be endowed with that same power. I believe this power comes more willingly through a gentle touch and a soft word. Joseph Smith stated, “When persons manifests the least kindness and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind…” When we show “simple acts of kindness and love,” we are truly being the “light of the world. A city that is set on a hill,” (Matthew 5:14) making our way of being in the world so bright that, in itself, our presence can invite others to be their own best selves, which is really an invitation to come unto Christ. I truly do believe this is done by “simple acts of kindness and love.” It is not done by resisting the world in its path to hell. It is done by lighting another way. It is done by letting our light “so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mathew 5: 16)
After the death of Professor Dumbledore In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Professor McGonagall lifts her wand above her head, with a single beam of light streaming from its tip. That single beam pierces the dark clouds above her and the students of Hogwarts. Soon, all of the students follow Professor McGonagall’s example and their own small lights come together to shine in the darkness which soon dispels. Because darkness cannot tolerate light. In this one simple example, the light of one encouraged the light of many. Light will always win. It will win here, as well. And it will win one simple light at a time. One small act of kindness and love at a time.
Throughout the scriptures, our Savior blessed the lives of those with which He came in contact. Sometimes it was nothing more than a mere touch as with the woman who touched His garment and was healed. (Mark 5: 25-34) If we read the footnote to the verse in Mark 5: 30 (LDS King James version), we find that the word virtue can also mean power or strength. Just as this woman drew upon the strength and power of the Savior to heal her, we also have the same avenue of strength and power. Throughout His earthly mission, this is how the Lord healed others, and it happened one act of love and kindness at a time. One soul at a time. I’m sure many of these people continued on with their regular lives after these events, but the healing light that touched them must’ve changed them forever.
Our Savior didn’t do this through power of ego or pride. He did it through humble compassion. It was these attributes that gave Him the strength to finish His mission of the atonement and give the gift of His life on the cross and the gift of His blood and suffering in Gethsemane. Not only so that that we may live again, but live with Him, and our Father in Heaven. We see this humility and compassion as He turns over His will to the will of His Father. “Not as I will, but as though wilt.” (Matthew 26: 39) If this isn’t spiritual power, I don’t know what is.
Every time we bend our will to the Father’s, we are following our Savior. Every time we let our light so shine, we are shining a lamp on a different path from the world, and we are tapping into that great power through the same humility and compassion our Savior showed. In this day and age, we are not called upon to die for our beliefs. We are called upon to live them, and when we do this with humility and compassion, we will find peace, and stemming from that peace is an incredible spiritual power.