Wednesday, December 27, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson on understanding teachings about perfection

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015.
"When comparing one’s personal performance with the supreme standard of the Lord’s expectation, the reality of imperfection can at times be depressing. My heart goes out to conscientious Saints who, because of their shortcomings, allow feelings of depression to rob them of happiness in life.
"We all need to remember: men are that they might have joy—not guilt trips! (See 2 Ne. 2:25.) We also need to remember that the Lord gives no commandments that are impossible to obey. But sometimes we fail to comprehend them fully....
"In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means 'complete.' Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means 'end.' The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means 'to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.' Please note that the word does not imply 'freedom from error'; it implies 'achieving a distant objective.' In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior—precision or excellence of human effort—they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words....
"The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in his great intercessory prayer to his Father—that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead.(See John 17:23–24.)...
"We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Perfection Pending," General Conference October 1995
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The simple title of this talk, "Perfection Pending," conveys the message of President Nelson that we all have work to do and need to keep our progress in the proper (eternal) perspective. It's easy to be discouraged when we view the relative lack of progress that is typical for our lives; but depression results from incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the expectations.

The guilt trips come when we have improper expectations for our progress. Instead, President Nelson helps us understand that perfection ultimately relates to long-term goals, when we will be "complete" or "finished" at the end of the long process. In the mean time, we work on smaller aspects of mortal progress, in which we can obtain partial perfection. The grand key is to continue to progress, and continue to find joy in the journey!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15