Nov 6, 2014

Which Way Do You Face?

by Elder Lynn G.  Robbins

What a powerful message this talk was.  For  me, it was a great reminder to check myself and my intentions.  Who am I really trying to please- God or others?

"Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second commandments (see Matthew 22:37-39).  It is forgetting which way we face."

Sometimes, just like those seen in Lehi's dream (1 Nephi 8:25-28), peer pressure gets to us and we forget which way we face.

"This peep pressure tries to change a person's attitudes, if not behavior, by making one feel guilty for giving offense.  We seek respectful coexistence with those who point fingers, but when this fear of men tempts us to condone sin, it becomes a "snare". . .The snare may be cleverly baited to appeal to our compassionate side to tolerate or even approve of something that has been condemned by God.  For the weak of faith, it can be a major stumbling block."

A few weeks ago, I attended a Stake fireside.  At this fireside, my stake president, reminded us that tolerance is a tool Satan uses.  Often times, we think that being kind means we need to tolerate the sins of others.  This is wrong.  Just like Elder Robbins said, we can respectfully coexist, but we do not need to tolerate and agree with things that have been commanded as wrong by God.

"Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone (dismiss as of little importance) the disobedience of men isn't neutrality but duplicity, or being two-faced or trying to "serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)." 

Taking a stand for what is right always takes courage.  I am a people-pleaser.  I like others to like me.  Standing up for what is right, and going against others, usually isn't easy.  

Years ago, I set a goal to watch only PG movies. (You can read more about that HERE.)  I have had to stand up for this belief time after time.  Even with friends who know of my conviction, they still invite me again and again to attend PG-13 movies with them.  Each time I'm always afraid of saying No, offending them, or coming across like I'm trying to be better than them.  It's never easy, but I do it because I know which way I face.

Let me share with you another experience this time where I didn't do such a good job of letting others see which way I face.  

One evening I was out with a group of friends.  During the middle of dinner, the conversation turned to that of same-sex marriage.  I was surprised when the majority of the women (who were also LDS) were in favor of same-sex marriage.  Their argument was that of "They can't help themselves", and "It's cruel to make someone go their whole life unable to spend it with the one they really love.", and "It's only fair.  If we allow traditional marriage we need to also allow same-sex marriage".   

After a few minutes of discussion, I interjected.  I reminded my friends of the Church's stance on traditional marriage, and that we should be kind and considerate to those who struggle with same-sex attraction but that it is still wrong.  They continued to argue with me, justifying it with stories of relatives or close-friends.  I'm sad to say that I didn't say anything back. I got scared.  I came home feeling terrible. I had failed.  I didn't do a very good job standing up for Jesus and his commandments like He would have wanted me to.  I let "the finger of scorn pointed from the great and spacious building cause me to forget which way I faced."  I never want to feel like that again. 

"Peer pressure tries to change a person's attitudes, if not behavior, by making one feel guilty for giving offense." 

I should have followed Christ's example.

"The Savior, our great Exemplar, always faced His Father.  He loved and served His fellowmen but said, 'I receive not honour from men (John 5:41).  He wanted those He taught to follow Him, but He did not court their favor."

After that experience, I pledged to never let the "finger of scorn" make me feel scared or guilty again. I will always remember which way I face.

"When others demand approval in defiance of God's commandments, may we always remember whose disciples we are, and which way we face. . . "