Thursday, September 8, 2011

Combating Indifference with Obedience

Today I read Pres. Thomas S. Monson's 9/11 message for the Washington Post's On Faith blog.  Pres. Monson spoke of the surge of unity and faith among the American people following the 9/11 tragedies ten years ago, but lamented that much of the humility we learned has given way to indifference. "Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives," he noted, "But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well."

Pres. Monson's remarks led my mind to the issue of indifference as a whole. About the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other similarly world-changing events, the question is often asked, "Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?" Of course, most of us do. The more important question should be, "Do you remember how you felt and what those feelings motivated you to do?" I find that my feelings tend to be much more difficult to remember than physical memories such as sight and smell. I believe that is likely due to the fact that we can recall many memories at will, but the ability to feel emotion or motivation can only be brought on by external stimuli. For example, when I am unhappy, I can far more easily remember a time when I was happy than I can force myself to be genuinely happy. However, I find that dwelling on happy memories can be one of the best ways to make myself genuinely happy again. So, when we remember 9/11, we shouldn't just focus our memories on where we were, but should allow our memories of that day to stir our passions continually in order to cause us always to feel what we did in its aftermath. If so, we would be a stronger, humbler, and more faithful nation.

The continual remembrance of the Lord's commandments works the same way. In the same way that failing to remember our feelings on 9/11 can cause us to forget our strength as a nation, so can failing to keep the commandments cause us to forget the strength of our Lord and His role in our lives. If we fail to keep the commandments, we inevitably fall into indifference. I find that indifference is one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation today. With all of our distractions, when can we find time to sit back and reflect? I find that when I spend time reflecting about the great questions of life, I always come out of it with a stronger faith in God and commitment to follow His paths. But when I get caught up in the daily routine, never taking time to pray or reflect on life, I nearly forget about God. Think about it, we as a modern people have more leisure time than any people before us, but I would argue we spend less time in prayer and reflection. This is a tragedy, and surely one of Satan's greatest achievements in the latter days. I'm sure this explains why our modern-day apostles and prophets spend so much time instructing us to keep the commandments--pray often, study the scriptures daily, do your home and visiting teaching, attend the temple regularly, keep the Sabbath holy, etc.--we need constant reminders of these things!

I love the line in Pres. Monson's message where he said, "we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us." It's true. God never leaves us nor forgets us. Are we doing the same for Him?

1 comment:

  1. Great 9/11 post, Eric! Modern distractions are just one reason Sundays are so important and such a blessing. Even when our weekdays are hectic and over-scheduled, we know it won't be too long before we have a chance to recharge our spiritual lives and refocus on what's really important.