One particular fast Sunday — shortly after my ordination to the office of deacon when I was 12 — was really hard. Fasting was hard for me because of two reasons: I was a 12-year-old boy, and I loved to eat!

On this particular Sunday we returned home from church and my mom began preparing dinner — but it wouldn’t be ready for hours. My younger siblings broke their fast on cold cereal, but I knew if I did the same I would be in trouble.

I was angry and really resented fasting at this time. I wondered why fasting had to be so hard and what would be the evil in one small bowl of cereal. I’d already fasted breakfast. It was at times like this that I wished I weren’t one of the older kids.

I was lying on the couch, sulking and pouting as much as I dared, when my dad invited me to take a walk with him. “Here it comes,” I thought. I was sure I was going to get a lecture about fasting or attitude or accountability or something like that.

After walking a block in silence, he began explaining the seemingly conflicting laws of justice and mercy, and how the Savior’s Atonement satisfied both laws. I struggled to see a connection between this topic and my present pouting. As the lesson continued, I gave up trying to see a link and just enjoyed receiving a “grown-up” lesson.

Dad never said a word about fasting or food until we got home. Just before we stepped inside he told me that if I needed to eat, to go ahead. Perhaps he was demonstrating “mercy” but there was no way I was going to stoop to cereal now. I’d just been discussing serious gospel principles with Dad; I wasn’t a small kid anymore.

I try to recall Dad’s lesson whenever I am faced with any kind of temptation. Rather than focus on what I cannot or should not have, I try to elevate my thoughts. Even a “mess of pottage” to a teenage boy quickly fades in importance when compared to eternal gospel truths.

—David Hixon, Frisco 6th Ward, Frisco Texas Stake

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