Sometimes though, it’s not us teaching the boys about Christ. It’s the boys teaching us about Christ.
From time to time, teenage boys have taught me absolutely essential lessons about Jesus Christ and what His atonement means just through their examples. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about my Savior from these brilliant boys:
1.) Christ didn’t just burden our sins, but he also experiences our sorrows.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes..” (1 Samuel 2:8)
A kid, who looked about fifteen, wearing his trendy clothing, drinking his Monster, with his headphones on reminded me of this. I watched him reach out to a panhandler in downtown Salt Lake a few weeks back. He didn’t give the woman money, but he talked with her. He approached her.
I was a bit far away to hear the conversation, but I think he complimented her hair. He hugged her while she cried. The others, adults, coming and going, ignored or handed money when asked. But, this hipster kid reached out and suffered with her.
Christ does this too. He suffers through our sins and afflictions. He felt all of our pains.Christ understands the difficulties of ridiculous trial and mundane monotony. I love this quote from former General Relief Society President Chieko Okazaki about His understanding.
2.) Christ conquered death.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:21)
An eighteen year-old-boy entered my mission, ready to serve. His father died only a few years prior, but he hoped that he could express the message of the Plan of Salvation to those he met. He had a firm testimony that his father would be resurrected with his family.
A few weeks into the mission, this young man was hit by a car and killed. This was my entry in my journal regarding the event:
“A week ago, [An elder] passed away. He was only an 18 year old boy, four weeks into the field. I have never experienced a service so inspiring as his was…Life is so short. [His] life was so short, but he knew his purpose. HIS plan was to teach the plan of salvation. He used it in every lesson. And now he’s teaching us about the plan of salvation.”
Death is but a temporary separation. Christ rose from the dead. He makes it possible for us to rise again.
We will be with the ones we love again, just like this young elder knew.
3.) Christ transforms us from our natural state into a better state.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
I faced every kid’s worst nightmare(but not mine)–moving as a Senior in high school. But, things weren’t so new for me.
Five years prior, I lived close by as a military brat. Walking into the new school, I recognized faces of young men and woman from back in middle school. But, the boys sure looked different! They stood taller, had more muscle.
I came to learn that they had changed in more ways than just physical. They were better people. They eagerly attended seminary. The boys loved God and found ways to serve Him.
They’d transformed. They’d started to turn into men. I’ve continued to see the same boys grow positively as the years have passed.
This comes through Christ. Only Christ makes it possible for us to get better and better. It is through Him that “weak things become strong” (Ether 12:27).
We often think it us who teach the boys, but we should open our eyes. On this Easter Sunday, and on all days, there is much to learn from the boys’ examples about who Christ is and the love He has for us.
“And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (Alma 53:20).
Author: Michelle Carpenter | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council