I haven’t been loving teaching primary lately. Teaching CTR 6 is much different than teaching Valiant 11. I had a small class of 11/12 year olds who were interested in what I was teaching them — who participated, read the scriptures with asked thoughtful questions and brought meaning to a lot of the lessons. Teaching six 6 year olds is, like I said, different. I can barely manage to get them all to sit in their chair, let alone listen and actively participate!
The crazy thing is that I know they are listening, even when they are wiggling and climbing all over the place. It’s amazing that I can ask them what I taught last week and they can usually remember not just the topic, but details. And, I constantly remind myself, one of the most important goals I should work for as their teacher is to help them feel the Spirit and enjoy coming to Church, so that they’ll continue to want to as they grow older and the gospel can take a more active and meaningful role in their lives.
With all of that said, I don’t attend Relief Society and I miss it. Luckily I get these lesson recaps emailed to me each week. And luckily, this one spoke directly to my heart. In many areas of my life, I feel not necessarily less than, but that I want more. I want to be better. I want to reach and attain more. It’s a constant fight to find a balance between pursuing more and enjoying what I have right now. I’ve marked what stuck out to me.
Elder Cornish: Am I good enough?
If you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for grace—you positively are going to be “good enough.”
Please, my beloved brothers and sisters, we must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today—and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. Please sincerely ask Him what He thinks of you. He will love and correct but never discourage us; that is Satan’s trick.
Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions “Am I good enough?” and “Will I make it?” are “Yes! You are going to be good enough” and “Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.” The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory.
I love the way President Gordon B. Hinckley used to teach this principle. I heard him say on several occasions, “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!”
“Really trying” means doing the best we can, recognizing where we need to improve, and then trying again. By repeatedly doing this, we come closer and closer to the Lord, we feel His Spirit more and more, and we receive more of His grace, or help.
The great news is that if we have sincerely repented, our former sins will not keep us from being exalted. Moroni tells us of the transgressors in his day: “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.”
If we will sincerely repent, God really will forgive us, even when we have committed the same sin over and over again. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made …, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
This does not mean in any way that sin is OK. Sin always has consequences. Sin always harms and hurts both the sinner and those affected by his or her sins. And true repentance is never easy. Moreover, please understand that even though God takes away the guilt and stain of our sins when we sincerely repent, He may not immediately take away all of the consequences of our sins. Sometimes they remain with us for the rest of our lives. And the worst kind of sin is premeditated sin, where one says, “I can sin now and repent later.” I believe that this is a solemn mockery of the sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ.
I witness to you that if you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for the grace, or help, of Christ—you positively are going to be “good enough,” that is, acceptable before the Lord; you are going to make it to the celestial kingdom, being perfect in Christ; and you are going to receive the blessings and glory and joy that God desires for each of His precious children—including specifically you and me. I testify that God lives and wants us to come home.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts”. So grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch.
Please believe! Please take hope! Do your best! Keep trying! Receive His grace!