Tag Archives: good

Repent ye! Repent ye!

9 Aug

I’ve learned an incredible lesson the last couple of weeks.

Being a missionary is a big responsibility. We are called by the Lord to “stand in his place … to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the people to whom he has sent [us]” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie). I can tell you quite honestly that I fall short of that every day. It can really start to weigh on you, all the times that you don’t quite do enough or don’t quite get it right. It’s hard to face the eternal consequences of the work of salvation. Even the little mistakes start to add up.

But this week I’ve been doing something different. Every night, as I pray before going to sleep, I spend some time thinking about those little things that I missed. I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness for specific things, not just the lump sum of falling short. Each and every little thing I can think of, I take the time to make right with the Lord.

I can’t say that I’m finding fewer little things, and I know I’m not finding all the little things. But I’m trying. And when I wake up in the morning I feel good. I feel clean. I feel more worthy to have the Holy Ghost as my companion.

I’ve learned these last couple of weeks that repentance is not just for big sins, it’s also for all the little things that we know we could have done better. And repentance isn’t painful or fearful, it’s the most peaceful, joyful thing we can do.

I know that Jesus Christ came into this world to suffer for our sins and to make it possible for us to be healed of spiritual pain. I know that He loves us. I know that He will lead me back to my Heavenly Father. And I know that all of this depends on my willingness to act and to apply the atonement to my life. I’ve been working harder on that, and I want to recommend it to all of you. Repent! Not because you’re afraid of the consequences of big sin, but because it will take away the burden of little stones that has built upon your back.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

12 Aug

This question seems to come up a lot in religious discussions, and I’ve been thinking about how to answer it. There are good quotes from Church authorities, good stories from teachers I’ve had, but the best way that I know how to think of it is by my own experience as a tutor.

When you teach math to a group of children, what do you do? You explain the principle, and then you put a problem in front of them. Some children will work diligently and find the answer with relative ease. Others will have more difficulty. They will struggle, and they will become somewhat frustrated. Finally, they will ask you for the answer.

Will you give it to them? Will you solve the problem for them?

You can’t. If you gave the answer to those struggling children, you would stunt their growth and stall their learning. I often had to tell the young children I tutored that I couldn’t give them the answer, but I could explain the principle again, in a new way, I could monitor their progress and talk them through it, and I could tell them whether their answer was right or wrong. This wasn’t always what they wanted to hear, but it was the best way for them to learn how to do the problems on their own.

Like a good teacher, our Heavenly Father has explained to us the principle of living righteously and being good. Now he sets before us some problems and it’s up to us to work through them. But we’re not alone. He has given us scriptures and prophets that explain things more fully. He is there to monitor our progress. And he can tell us whether our answer is right or wrong.

Our Heavenly Father can’t take away our problems or trials because he wants what’s best for us. He knows that this is our opportunity to learn and he would never take that away from us. Like a math problem, our trials are put in front of us for our learning. You wouldn’t fault a teacher for challenging her students, and we can’t fault God for challenging his children. He has given us everything we need to get through this life and he is available to talk us through it when we can’t do it alone.

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