In Mosiah 21, the people of Limhi (Nephites) are living under Lamanite rule – according to an arrangement that had been made between the king of the Lamanites and Limhi.
In case you are not familiar, the people of Limhi are Nephites. They are a different race than the Lamanites. The Nephites and Lamanites are all descendents from a common family – the Nephites, but over the years, they separated and they also changed physically. Their skin colors are different. They also often fought with each other – a rivalry started between the brothers (Nephi and Laman) hundreds of years before.
So – the people of Limhi are living subject to Lamanite rule. And racism grows. The Lamanites are annoyed with the people of Limhi, but because of the arrangement made between kings, they can’t kill the Nephites. So, they oppress the Nephites.
This oppression is described as follows:
“Now they durst not slay them, because of the oath which their king had made unto Limhi; but they would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass—” – Mosiah 21:3
The people of Limhi are getting frustrated with this oppression, and they convince their king that they need to retaliate. So, he agrees.
The Lamanites beat the people of Limhi, did drive them back, and kill many.
This loss results in worse race relations and a great sorrow and mourning among the people of Limhi. The crying of the people grows to a fever pitch – and the people of Limhi decided that they needed to go again to the Lamanites and fight.
The Lamanites, however, beat the people of Limhi again, did drive them back, and kill many.
This next loss results in even worse racer relations, and sorrow and mourning among the people of Limhi. Again, they complain until they approach the king and go up against the Lamanites once again.
And the Lamanites, beat the people of Limhi, did drive them back, and kill many.
This is insane.
This is such a sad and terrible time in the history of both the Lamanites and the People of Limhi. Mourning, anger, and frustration motivate these people. They are proud and wicked. They don’t turn to the Lord. Instead, they try to fight for themselves, and their misery only increases.
It sounds sadly familiar.
Recently, we have seen many divisions in our country. Racial tension and aggression seems to be multiplying. People are rioting and too many people are dying. The solution that seems to prevail is more retaliation, more fighting, and more mourning and anguish.
How do we stop this? Well, the same way that the People of Limhi did. They humbled themselves. In Mosiah, we read:
“And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.
And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.” – Mosiah 21:14-15
Finally, the Lord heard their cries, and he softened the hearts of the Lamanites. Though the people of Limhi weren’t yet delivered out of bondage, they were prospered by degrees. Though they were still subject to the Lamanites, they were not dying anymore. They weren’t wailing and howling at the staggering losses of life because they weren’t experiencing these losses anymore.
This resonates with me now. My heart is heavy. Police have killed people. People have killed police. We seem to want to sit and point fingers at one another – while the killing, animosity, and mourning continues. It makes no sense.
These problems we experience today are the results of a wicked and perverse generation. On both sides. But we don’t have to be. We don’t have to embrace sin. We don’t have to be deceived.
Instead, we can learn a lesson from the People of Limhi – who were in bondage. Maybe today we could say, “they had every right to fight.” But what good did that fighting do? It just hurt them even more. We can learn that the most effective way to “fight” for our liberty and for peace is through humility. It is when we humble ourselves to God that we will receive His blessings and then ultimately achieve peace and freedom.