Convictions and beliefs: What does all that have to do with religion? — Tim Allen, “Home Improvement”
I was watching old reruns of “Home Improvement” starring Tim Allen the other day, and I just cracked up when I heard him say this. After I quit laughing, I began to really think about it. It occurred to me that Mr. Allen may have hit on the very core of the current moral dilemma of our time.
We want to be religious, but we don’t want to commit to the convictions of our beliefs. It comes back to the same thing I’ve written about in several recent articles—discipleship. It doesn’t do us any good to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer if we are not willing to fully commit to following His teachings. To think otherwise is pure folly. You can’t serve God and mammon.
A line has been drawn in the sand. On what side of that line will you be standing in the end? Will you look upon Christ and rationalize your behavior as being politically correct? Will you say to Him, “I know I wasn’t supposed to do this, but everyone else was doing it?” Will you tell Him that it was just too hard to stand for truth and righteousness?
Life is hard. Standing up to our closest friends, and sometimes even family, and saying, “Hey, this isn’t right,” takes courage. It would be so easy to just smile and go along with the world—except these days, the world is very often wrong.
If we are steadfast and do not waver in our faith, the Lord will increase our capacity to raise ourselves above the challenges of life. We will be enabled to subdue negative impulses, and we will develop the capacity to overcome even what appear to be overwhelming obstacles (Elder Ulisses Soares, “Confide in God Unwaveringly,” Apr. 2017 General Conference).
Standing up for what is right sometimes means defending the Church. Sometimes it just means doing the right thing. As I am writing this, I’m thinking about an awkward position I found myself in yesterday. I was in a large group of people. Someone was at the microphone saying something to the group that was absolutely not true. Not only was it not true, but it was disrespectful to a whole group of people.
It was a solemn occasion—one that a person doesn’t normally interrupt to set the record straight. I had a choice to make. I could ruin this solemn occasion by standing and correcting the speaker, or ignore it even though I knew that it was completely wrong and disrespectful. I kept silent. This happened 14 hours ago, and as I write this at 1:00 o’clock in the morning, I’m still wondering if I made the right choice to keep my mouth shut.
A couple of hours later, several people asked me about it, and I did correct the information for those people. However, I’m still thinking about the rest of the group who have gone away with a completely false impression. More importantly, I’m thinking about that whole group of people who were not at the gathering who gave so much and then were disrespected.
These days there is a fine line between right and wrong, and it is hard to put things in perspective. Should I have spoken up and disrupted a very solemn occasion and irritated a few people in the process, or should I have kept my mouth shut and by doing so wrong many more people who were not there to speak up for themselves? I don’t know the answer to that question.
All any of us can do is to try to live the convictions of our faith. We can try to do the right thing, even when it is hard. Sometimes, like with my current situation, the lines appear so blurred that we may make mistakes along the way. That’s okay, as long as we are honestly trying to do the right thing.
A couple of hours after this happened to me, I sat around a table and listened to someone tell a funny story about me. Ironically, it was about a time when I stood up for what I believed to be right. I’ve heard this story told about me many times at many different gatherings, but today I heard it with different ears.
Yes, on the surface it is a funny story of what a feisty little character I can be at times. On the other hand, it is a proud moment for me because what I did was absolutely right. I was standing up for my convictions. Sitting here after 1:00 in the morning, I have much more pride in that moment than my decision today to stay silent—even if doing otherwise would have ruined a very serious event.
Convictions and beliefs have everything to do with religion. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can know the difference between right and wrong, even when those lines seem to be very blurred.
If we live the convictions of our faith, and if we are good disciples of Christ, doing all that we can to figure out where the line is drawn and to be obedient in standing on the side of truth and light, then we have passed the test of this earthly life. When we make mistakes, we can repent, and the atonement of Jesus Christ makes up the difference.
So, as I go to bed now, I can sleep knowing that I honestly tried to do the right thing, even if I’m not sure I made the right choice in the end. I know that when I get out of bed in the morning, I can make a new start and try to make better decisions because Christ has already paid the price for my mistakes. I can take comfort in knowing that I’m trying to live the convictions of my beliefs—and that’s what counts in the end.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.