So, last week (on my other blog), I wrote on a subject that hit close enough to home that I had been irritated about it for a couple of weeks. In my “zeal” I typed some inaccuracies. I was then called on them, something I should have expected because of the nature of my post.
The hardest part of the whole experience was the sense that I had failed — that my weaknesses and shortcomings had marred the final message that I was trying to convey. I began to doubt that I would ever be in a position that God could use me for His purposes.
I have pondered the idea a lot this past week, and I have received spiritual assurances that I don’t have to be perfect to be a valuable servant in the Kingdom of God. If my intents are in the right place, God can use me in my imperfections.
I think Jonah may be the classic example of someone who couldn’t quite get his heart in the right place, but was called by and used by God in a mighty way in spite of himself. I have no idea of knowing how deep the national pride of Israel ran in Jonah’s time, and I have no idea how much Israel had suffered at the hands of the Ninevites, I do know that Jonah had a serious struggle with the thought that his God would extend mercy to such a distasteful people. Jonah tried to run from his calling, and then resented the city’s repentance! Even so, God continued to gently teach him. There are no records of what happened to Jonah after this experience, but I’d like to think he went home with a changed heart and deeper faith.
Samson, because of his repeated caving to physical desires, sacrificed a lot of the spiritual power that God would have given him had he been willing to live his life according to God’s standards. Even so, God used Samson to provide Israel relief from their enemies.
Moroni, sensing something was wrong with the government because of the lack of supply and soldiers, sent a scathing letter to the chief judge of the Nephites, Pahoran. Moroni was frustrated and angry, and it showed — after all, he threatened to bring his army against the chief judge if he didn’t get his act together! God softened Pahoran’s heart so that he was able to set aside the inaccurate accusations and get to the heart of the problem. Moroni and Pahoran worked together to set things straight in their own country so that the Nephites could more effectively defend themselves from their enemies.
When Jeffrey R. Holland spoke the words I placed at the top of this post, he was asking us to be patient with each other. In the years that have passed since I first heard them, they have taken on a new meaning.
I will always be imperfect while I am mortal. I will always be sensitive to knowing that my weaknesses could render the things I want to communicate ineffective — people will see my failings and ignore my message. I will probably always have the desire to step back instead of stepping up, simply because I am worried that I am not the right person to be saying something — kind of like when Corianton’s sins messed up a mission.
In the end, it’s really not up to me. In Ether, Moroni relates things he has been told by the Holy Spirit:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Just recently, I realized the significance in what isn’t present in this verse — the promise to remove the weaknesses. Instead, the act of working to overcome those weaknesses and moving forward in faith regardless of our weaknesses will become one of the best sources of spiritual power in our lives!