Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Agency - How It Works

In addition to spiritual consequences, the principle of moral agency also includes accountability and responsibility. To facilitate this, God has given us the light of Christ or what the world calls conscience. (See Moroni 7:16). Every healthy person has this light that tells them what choices are good and which are not. When we follow the light, we are at peace with ourselves and free to move forward. When we discard the light we are troubled and in chaos. We know we did something that betrayed our own heart (the light within us) and we don’t like living with the inner turmoil this causes. At this point we have two more choices. (1) We can repent and put ourselves back in the light, or (2) We can try all kinds of things to get the inner turmoil to stop. Two of the most common things we do to ease our conscience are to justify ourselves or try to forget what we have done. To justify ourselves, we rationalize that what we did isn’t all that bad, that other people are doing worse, that it is only this once, that we are really a good person–we just don’t always act that way, etc. We try to forget by indulging in pleasures. We eat chocolate, go to a movie, watch TV, go shopping, take a bubble bath, go golfing, or a myriad of other things that take our mind off what we have done. But pleasures are a diversion not a cure. The problem never goes away.
In either case if we choose not to repent, life becomes a constant battle. We are always working to prove ourselves, to increase our self-esteem, to create a self-image of us as a good person. It is a never ending job! It is emotionally and psychologically exhausting. On the other hand, when we do what is right or when we repent and set things right, the Spirit justifies or defends us. We don’t need to defend our own behavior because there is nothing to defend, and so we are at peace and in that state of peace we slowly take on the image of Christ. We become like Him.
Agency is a gift given to us to use. How we use it determines what we will become.


The Edwards Family said...

Dr. Sherrie excellent explaination! I definetly beleive that through repenting we take on the image of Christ. SO many truths written so perfectly!

Wendi said...

Wow! I really related to this one. The part I liked the best was where you explained how the Spirit defends us. LOVE that!