By Jason A. Kofoed
15 June 2014
It's been a while since I've felt impressed to share something from my daily scripture study but what I came across this morning nudged me just a little bit more than usual.
What I came across was in relation to something that really is black and white: are we helping to further the work of God or are we a hinderance to it? We all have our agency (ability to choose for ourselves how we will think and act) and will never, ever be "forced" by God to do anything. At times He may gently persuade us along a certain path but ultimately the choice to obey or disobey is ours to make. Satan on the other hand will use much more aggressive tactics, even to the point of seemingly depriving us of our agency. I say seemingly because even he cannot take it away from us, but his temptations are so effective at times that we often use it as an excuse for our wrong choices. Another point to be made is that there are basically two types of sins: sins of commission (the things we do wrong) and sins of omission (the things we should be doing but aren't). We are all guilty of both from time to time but it is very important that we recognize them, admit them and repent of them. Regardless of whether we are hindering the work of the Lord on purpose (a sin of commission) or we are a hinderance due to our complacency or apathy (sins of omission), we must cease being a hinderance at all and, instead, work to further the work of the Lord.
Following is a talk given by Elder Mark E. Peterson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the April 1945 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am only posting a portion of it but you can find the rest of it HERE.
On Sustaining Authority
Elder Mark E. Petersen
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, April 1945, pp. 41-46
One day an ancient prophet called his son to his side and talked with him about liberty. They discussed the free agency which God has given to us all, which permits every man to choose his own course in life, whether good or bad. The father told his son that it is impossible for a man to exercise his right of choice unless alternatives are placed before him: virtue and vice, light and darkness, the bitter and the sweet. Then he said, "Man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." Therefore, "it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things." The ancient prophet told his son that this opposition in all things had existed from the beginning of time and that even in the Garden of Eden the forbidden fruit stood in opposition to the tree of life (see (2 Ne. 2:11-16).
THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE GIVEN TO MANKIND
When Jesus began his ministry, he also dealt with this opposition in all things. He recognized that evil is in the world, and he acknowledged that all men have their free agency and have the right to choose between the good and the evil. All through his ministry he taught men to choose the right and told them of the many blessings they would receive if they would do so.
Again he said that if men were to choose the evil they would be condemned; that their offences would bring sorrow, not only upon other men but upon themselves. Therefore, he said:
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh (Matt. 18:7).
As he went about in his ministry, Jesus was met with varied reactions. There were some who gladly accepted him, followed him wherever he went and tried to live his teachings. There were some who were indifferent, and then there were others who openly opposed him. So the people of that day had before them a clear working example of the law of opposition in all things. On the one hand was Jesus preaching the way of life; on the other were the Scribes and the Pharisees who fought him at every step. Then there were the indifferent ones. Can we say that they were for the Lord or against him, or were they merely, as we say, indifferent? I call to your mind that the indifferent ones did not keep the commandments, and by their indifference they encouraged others to be indifferent, and as the others became indifferent, they also refused to obey the commandments of the Lord their God.
These indifferent ones built up a barrier against the Christ, and as they spread the example of disobedience they became a hindrance to him in his work, and for that reason the Lord said:
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Matt. 12:30).
His attitude regarding the indifferent ones is further shown by the message of the Lord to the seven churches as given to John on Patmos; and you remember what was said to one of those churches:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev. 3:15-16).
So with the Lord we take sides. We are either for him or we are against him. We are strengthening his work or we are weakening his work. Every Latter-day Saint should ask himself whether he is for the Lord or whether he is against the Lord; whether his deeds are sustaining and strengthening the work of God or whether his deeds, even his indifference, are weakening the work of the Lord.