Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Atonement - Lesson Idea

My friend Melissa gave a wonderful lesson in Relief Society last Sunday.  To prepare, she read through all of the General Conference talks from April 2016.  As she studied the talks, she pulled out various quotes and concepts about the Atonement.  We discussed each theme and quote as she asked questions in class and we had an awesome, heartfelt discussion.  We all desperately need the Atonement so I appreciated that she chose to give a lesson on it.

Because of the Atonement, there will be no unfairness

I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. “All that is unfair about life can be made right”. Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more that we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for.
Dale G. Renlund, April Conference 2016

How can knowing that everything will be made right help us now?
 (That is the essence of faith)

Forgiveness through the Atonement sets us free

There is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else’s careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior. That is one thing we all have in common. Gratefully, God, in His love and mercy for His children, has prepared a way to help us navigate these sometimes turbulent experiences of life. He has provided an escape for all who fall victim to the misdeeds of others. He has taught us that we can forgive! Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!
            Kevin R. Duncan, April Conference 2016

What is the connection between being forgiven and offering forgiveness to others?
How does forgiving others free us?

The Atonement brings us peace

Peace of mind, peace of conscience, and peace of heart are not determined by our ability to avoid trials, sorrow, or heartache. Despite our sincere pleas, not every storm will change course, not every infirmity will be healed, and we may not fully understand every doctrine, principle, or practice taught by prophets, seers, and revelators. Nevertheless, we have been promised peace-with a condition attached. Faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice is, and forever will be, the first principle of the gospel and the foundation upon which our hope for “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” is built.
            W. Christopher Waddell, April Conference 2016

Would anyone like to share a time when they have felt peace, even through a trial?

The Atonement can help us discern what it right for us

When trust is betrayed, dreams shattered, hearts broken and broken again, when we want justice and need mercy, when our fists clench and our tears flow, when we need to know what to hold onto and what to let go of, we can always remember Him. His infinite compassion can help us find our way, truth, and life.
            Gerrit W. Gong, April Conference 2016

When you think about the burdens that you are carrying, what could it mean when he says “know what to hold onto and what to let go of”? 

Relying on the Atonement can ease our burdens

God rarely infringes on the agency of any of His children by intervening against some for the relief of others. But He does ease the burdens of our afflictions and strengthen us to bear them, as He did with Alma’s people in the land of Helam. He does not prevent all disasters, but He does answer our prayers to turn them aside…He does blunt their effects.
            Dallin H. Oaks, April Conference 2016

What are some strategies for turning our burdens over to the Lord so he can help us bear them?
(Prayer, fasting, finding a support system)

The Atonement gives us strength to keep trying

With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.
            Jeffrey R. Holland, April Conference 2016

Would anyone like to share a time when you just kept trying, even though you felt like you weren’t succeeding?