Sunday, November 25, 2018

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on accepting human frailty

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (born December 3, 1940) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.
"So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2:108.) Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Lord, I Believe," General Conference April 2013
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It's sometimes easy to criticize others who are in positions of leadership or responsibility. They may have different styles or approaches than we do, and may look at needs, challenges, or solutions in ways we don't agree with. Of course it's natural for each of us to consider that our approach must be the best one, and to be frustrated when others don't share our insights.

Elder Holland reminds us that we are all imperfect in this mortal experience. Mistakes are occasionally made; changes are often necessary. But when the issues arise, we need not be shaken in faith; if anything, we can feel confirmation of faith as we see inspired corrections and adjustments.

We are all "volunteers" in Church service, and we should be forgiving and sustaining as we learn and grow together. Our imperfection is under the direction of God's perfection, and the work will move forward based on the best efforts we all contribute.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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