Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Elder David A. Bednar on being sensitive to the needs of others

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character."
- David A. Bednar, "The Character of Christ," BYU-Idaho Religion Symposium, January 25, 2003
Click here to read the full talk

There are many different definitions of "character" that might be employed. Elder Bednar's suggestion is an interesting one. How readily does a person see through his (or her) own challenges in order to recognize that others around him may be dealing with that same challenge? And then is he able to offer support and encouragement, in spite of the burden that is being borne?

As in so many other things, we are invited to follow the example of the Savior; and we will be blessed as we do.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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