“And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature….”
“Fixed” in this verse should be understood in the sense of affixed or firmly secured to something. In Enos’s time, as in ours, people were divided along lines of immutable characteristics. For them, it was which branch of the family of Lehi they descended from. For us, at least today, it is race. And for those who petition for peace, those pleas seem hopeless when thrown against animosity and hatred that is deeply felt, deeply rooted…fixed.
The Savior ministered in a time of rooted hatred as well, and his proclamations of peace must have seemed idealistic, naive, or barking mad. But His message was simple, not simplistic: Love one another. Go out of your way to encounter, embrace and serve. Seek out the Samaritan. Lift up the leper. Salve the wounds of the sinner.
Breaking away from fixed hatreds and being able to see the divine in others is difficult, but not unprecedented. Paul, Alma the Younger, Lamoni’s father…All of them experienced a “mighty change” in their hearts, so mighty that it uprooted all that they had been before and made them new people. Better people. Christian people.
Difficult though it may be in turbulent times, the Lord is trusting us, as His disciples and emissaries, to think, speak, and act as He would. With love.
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ.” Gordon B. Hinckley