Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Being an Instrument of Change: Differing Scriptural Examples and Our Personal Responsibilities

Many people have asked me what they need to do to be an instrument of positive change in their sphere of influence.  My response is very simple:

We need to do the best we can, regardless of the outcome we expect or for which we merely hope. Period.

We have to be willing to work for change even if we believe it won't happen.  Changing the world, even on a small scale, requires a degree of faith that change can happen.  Sometimes, it happens; sometimes it doesn't; either way, we have to be willing to try. 

The best examples of this in the Book of Mormon are the Alma, the Younger, and the sons of Mosiah, who succeeded far beyond anyone's expectations - and, conversely, the general, Mormon, leading his people out of love for them even though he had absolutely no hope that they would repent and watching them get slaughtered. In the Bible, it might be Elijah - who preached for years and only saw one conversion.  We aren't in such a radical, bleak situation - and we might just have a Jonah experience where people we assumed were too hard-hearted to repent actually do repent. (which, btw, is what I beleive to be the main point of that story - that even the very wicked can change, and we shouldn't begrudge them that change or think we are better than they are just because of their wickedness, since we might have no idea the cause of that wickedness and their ability to repent) 

We can't serve only in situations where we reasonably can expect great results - at least not if our objective is to make radical changes on a (relatively) broad scale.  Being effective has its place, and it is an important place, but calculations of effectiveness rob of us the opportunity to make a real, widespread difference in the world - again, no matter how broadly we define that world.  

No comments: