More Family Night Fun at the Harris House

March 16, 2004 | 10 comments
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For reasons that remain opaque to me, my two oldest children (ages 7 and 5) have lately become enamored of the story of the ten cleansed lepers, and regularly ask to have it told to them. Last night, during family home evening, they asked to hear it again. We obliged, and when we got to the part where the one returns to give thanks, Steve asked, “And what did Jesus say?”

Sam (3) said “You’re welcome!”

After I picked myself up from the floor, it seemed to me that, in fact, this might have been the expected response from a gracious lord. “Where are those other nine ingrates?” seems, well, human.

Is Christ here teaching the principle that “in nothing doth man offend God…” If so, how and why is it offensive to God if we don’t acknowledge his hand? Isn’t it a little petty to require credit? Of course there are plenty of reasons why a posture of gratitude is appropriate and psychologically beneficial for humans, but why should God be “offended” when human gratitude is not forthcoming? Why would Jesus respond piquedly about the other nine, instead of just praising the one who demonstrated the proper attitude?

10 Responses to More Family Night Fun at the Harris House

  1. Grasshopper on March 16, 2004 at 6:24 pm

    bump

  2. Grasshopper on March 16, 2004 at 6:27 pm

    Is that an MT bug that causes the occasional post to return a 404 until a comment is added?

    Kristine, does it change our understanding of this passage if we read Jesus’ question with a pained, sorrowful tone of voice instead of a harsh one? Maybe this is pointing to the relationship God desires with us.

  3. Kristine on March 16, 2004 at 6:30 pm

    Yeah, I think that’s probably the right way to read the NT passage, but it seems harder to gloss the D&C that way. ?? Maybe they’re not so closely related…

  4. Michelle on March 16, 2004 at 7:04 pm

    Maybe it’s something like the prodigal son story — Jesus was glad the one came back to thank him, but really worried more about the nine that didn’t, and what it meant for them. Whether it was sorrowful or harsh, Christ’s focus always seems to be on the ones who need help, rather than the ones who understand. The D&C certainly contains much harshness, but it also contains many passages of praise for the ones who understand. Maybe that’s due more to the fact the JS chose which revelations to make public, perhaps according to what his flock needed (whether that was harsh rebuke, personal direction, or public notices of JS’s prophetness).

  5. Michelle on March 16, 2004 at 7:25 pm

    Besides, maybe Jesus did merely say you’re welcome. But the author of the book needs to teach us a lesson, right?

  6. Adam Greenwood on March 16, 2004 at 7:55 pm

    Perhaps the grateful leper will find a greater pleasure in his thanks because now he realizes that his giving thanks wasn’t inevitable. Others didn’t bother doing it.

    Perhaps anger and disgust are not so foreign to Godhood as we think. Perhaps we should see Christ as the whole of many parts, who can condemn and praise out of the same mouth.

  7. Gary Cooper on March 16, 2004 at 8:09 pm

    Kristine,

    Isn’t the fundamental problem God has in trying to bring us to exaltation the fact that WE ARE ALL TO DARNED STUCK ON OURSELVES? None of us seems to be able to go as much as a day without at least a selfish, self-centered thought. On top of that, we like to all think that we are so much smarter and better and cuter than everyone else (especially if we have a little light and knowledge). The gratitude issue goes right to the heart of breaking out of the mortal dilemna; God is constantly trying to get us to see that:

    1. We are really nothing without God, in fact, we’re pretty ugly without Him

    2. We are nothing without our brothers and sisters, especially the ones we dislike the most

    3. We are intransigent, proud, deceitful, stiff-necked, and narcissistic, and that’s just the members of the Church!

    4. We simply cannot break out of this mold, without the Atonement, and to fully take hold of the power of Christ’s Atonement we have to completely and totally acknowledge our reliance on God, our nothingness and sinfulness before Him, and our total dependence on Him for everything good and lasting and worthwhile in time and eternity.

    I’ve always loved this story, because it captures the difficulty, and hope, in my own life; am I content to keep asking God for favors, then go about my business, or am I ready to really commune with Him?

  8. Kristine on March 16, 2004 at 8:19 pm

    Gary, you are, of course, completely right, except that some of us really are smarter and better and cuter than everyone else ; )

  9. Gary Cooper on March 16, 2004 at 8:30 pm

    Kristine,

    “…except that some of us really are smarter and better and cuter than everyone else”.

    Yep, especially folks like me…(now if only my wife would agree, and my co-workers, and the people who contribute at T&S, and….)

  10. Stephen on March 21, 2004 at 10:32 pm

    Reminds me of my daughter Rachel in primary.

    They showed a picture of Christ on the Cross and asked the audience “who is that” and she responded “That’s Jesus in his underwear.”

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