Melanie shares some quotes that have made a difference in her life:
Our individual experiences may not always be unique, but they are always authentic. God will even take into account our perceptions of, as well as our responses to, our trials. For those of us who do not, for instance, find claustrophobia a challenge, it is difficult to measure the terror that comes to those for whom it is such a challenge. Thus, a friend may seem to struggle unnecessarily long before finally prevailing with regard to a particular principle of the gospel. But for that individual, the struggle was real enough! We need, particularly, to understand with kindness those who are asked to go out to do battle again on a familiar field–on the very battleground where they have already suffered defeat several times. Yet some of our most difficult victories will occur on new terrain–like Joseph’s in Egypt–when we do not have the equivalent of a “home court” advantage.
We must remember that, while the Lord reminded the Prophet Joseph Smith that he had not yet suffered as Job, only the Lord can compare crosses!”
-Neal A. Maxwell, “Taking up the Cross,” Fireside, 4 January 1976 (emphasis in original) (http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6139&x=71&y=9)
I love this reminder to be more gentle–not just with others, but also with myself. It’s so easy to be hard on other people when they just don’t seem to “get it” with regard to a certain gospel principle or practice, so it is important to remember that we can never know the full scope of the personal challenges they face. I am really grateful that it is not my job to make those comparisons and judgments–I will gladly leave that to the Lord!
As hard as we are on other people, I think often we are the most critical of ourselves. Honest self-evaluation, with the Lord’s help, is a key piece of repentance and growth, but that self-appraisal should not come at the expense of our own sense of worth and identity as beloved daughters of God–loved beyond measure even in our imperfect state.
Elder Maxwell’s imagery of the battlefield reminds me of another passage I love, from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity:
Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.
I know I don’t always recognize the progress I’m making, so I really like this perspective on how the little things I do can add up to big gospel victories. And in the frustratingly common times I fall short, I’m grateful for repentance, and how the Atonement helps me hold the ground I might otherwise have lost.
Do you have quotes or talks that have had an influence in your life? Please email us at ‘mormonwoman’ AT ‘gmail’ DOT ‘com’ or simply use the comment box below. Read more quotes from others by clicking here.
Lovely site! So glad I have found you.
One of the great quotes that profoundly influenced my life was from President Ezra Taft Benson’s historic ‘condemnation’ talk in October Conference 1986. It is entitled “The Keystone of our Religion”. I remember exactly where I was when I heard these powerful words:
“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. I implore you with all my heart that you consider with great solemnity the importance of the Book of Mormon to you personally and to the Church collectively. Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us. (See D&C 84:54–58.) Rather, let us win the promises associated with treasuring it up in our hearts.”
A prophet of the Lord declared that we were under condemnation as individuals and as a church for not reading the Book of Mormon – however he also detailed the promised blessings we could receive if we repented and studied it faithfully. From that day forward, this has been the Keystone of my religious study. We have tried to make it a daily part of our family time. I can testify that the power and promises that President Benson prophesied of are real. None of us can afford to live without this “divine gift”.