by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
This was an incredible talk! I love President Uchtdorf's speaking style. His talks always resonate with me and fill me with a strong desire to do better. He make me feel like I've got this. I can do this. I am capable. This talk was no exception.
After studying this talk, I realized I am sometimes (okay who am I kidding - often) guilty of the 'beam and mote syndrome'. I need to stop worrying about others and start worrying about myself.
Jesus Christ's disciples understood this. President Uchtdorf's talk is based on the event found in Matthew 26. After the Savior informed His disciples that "one of you shall betray me" The disciples did not doubt Him. They also did not point their finger at another disciple and think "It's probably him." Everyone of them with sorrow asked, "Lord, is it I?"
To further illustrate his point, President Uchtdorf shares a
Parable of Dandelions
In this story, a man, who enjoyed taking evening walks, would often stop to admire his neighbors perfectly manicured lawn. One day the man noticed an enormous dandelion growing right in the middle of his neighbor's perfect lawn. This really bothered him. Why would his neighbor allow this to grow? Couldn't he see it? As he walked home, disturb beyond description, the man plotted what he could do about this weed. "Should he just pluck it out? Or spray it with weed killer?
"These thoughts totally occupied his mind as he walked toward his own home. He entered his house without even glancing at his own front yard- which was blanketed with hundreds of yellow dandelions.
The Mote and the Beam
"Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew 7:3)
Mote = a tiny piece of substance (a speck)
Beam = a long, sturdy piece of squared wood or metal
"The business of beams and motes seems to be closely related to our inability to see ourselves clearly. I'm not sure why we are able to diagnose and recommend remedies for other people's ills so well, while we often have difficulty seeing our own."
"Many of us have a difficult time seeing ourselves as we truly are. . . It might not be so significant to overestimate how well we drive a car or how far we can drive a golf ball. But when we start believing that our contributions at home, at work, and at church are greater than they actually are, we blind ourselves to blessings and opportunities to improve ourselves in significant and profound ways."
I know a few people that believe they are exempt from serving in the church because "they've already put in their time". I also know a man who feels he is excused from attending church on Sundays because "he's heard it 1000 times and already knows it all."
President Uchtdorf warns:
"In this age of self-justification and narcissism (excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance), it is easy to become quite creative at coming up with excuses for not regularly approaching God in prayer, procrastinating the study of the scriptures, avoiding Church meetings and family home evenings, or not paying an honest tithes and offerings.
"My dear brethren [and sisters], will you please look inside your hearts and ask the simple question: "Lord, is it I?""
"None of us like to admit when we are drifting off the right course. Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears. Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves in order to justify unworthy thoughts and actions.
"Being able to see ourselves clearly is essential to our spiritual growth and well-being. If our weaknesses and shortcomings remain obscured in the shadows, then the redeeming power of the Savior cannot heal them and make them strengths. Ironically, our blindness toward our human weaknesses will also make us blind to the divine potential that our Father yearns to nurture within each of us."
Removing the beam in our eye?
1. Study the Scriptures and General Conference talks.
"May I suggest that the holy scriptures and the talks given at general conference are an effective mirror we can hold up for self-examination. As you hear or read the words of the ancient and modern prophets, refrain from thinking about how the words apply to someone else and ask the simple question: "Lord, is it I?""
"We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachable minds. We must be willing to learn and to change. And, oh, how much we have to gain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us. "
2. Put aside Pride and Vanity and Humble Ourselves
"We must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, "Lord, is it I?" And if the Lord's answer is "Yes, my son, there are things you must improve, things I can help you overcome," I pray that we will acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better husbands (wives), better fathers (mothers), better sons (daughters). May we from this time forward seek with all our might to walk steadfastly in the Savior's blessed way. . ."