Yesterday we shared a conference talk by our prophet, President Monson. It moved me to remember that we can't look backward at ourselves or anyone else. We are more than our past. We are eternal beings with infinite potential and to look at any person (including myself) and say that they are incapable of change is to deny Christ's power to save. We can't focus on where we have been. We have to focus on where we are going.
This morning I was reading about the Prodigal Son. The young man knows that he's done wrong. He says "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son." He isn't wrong. He has royally messed up. He has wasted his inheritance in riotous living that has scarred him. He feels unclean. He has insulted his family. The road ahead won't necessarily be easy, but his father is watching for him. He is so overjoyed to see him!! That father saw the boy not for his past, but for his future. That father saw his son for what he could become.
The young man's brother is a little bit miffed. He thinks he's been unfairly dealt with. He was good, right? Why did his wicked little brother get all of the special treatment for wasting his living? This young man sees his brother's past. Not his future. He may be thinking "He's never going to change! Especially not if you reward him like this. Where is the justice?" Well, we should all be glad to know that Christ overcame justice. Christ paid the price of justice for both of these sons in all of their shortcomings. I recommend we don't ask for justice. Justice serves all of us poorly - since each of us has fallen and each falls short of the glory of God. Christ knows our fallen state and rescues us. He says in Doctrine and Covenants 18:
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
Christ sees our potential and He is able to help us overcome all things.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the people that we are teaching and where they may be in 10 years. I see one as a temple worker, another sealed to a worthy man for time and all eternity, one teaching a sunbeams class, and another feeling clean and forgiven with purity in his attitude. I love these people because the Lord has given me the eyes to see a little bit of their potential. He sees us for our potential. I am grateful for the change He can bring to each of us. My challenge to all of you this week is to see others for their future. Not their past. Then look at yourself with that same attitude.
A returning missionary sang this song Sunday with her Sister:
We sang "Come Unto Christ" with the Young Women in Sacrament this Sunday and almost made one of our investigators cry. I love that song.
I love you all. Be strong. Stick it out.
Sister Caroline Faulkner