Disposition and Doing Good

Reading: “A Disposition to Do Good Continually,” Spencer J. Condie, Ensign, Aug 2001

It is my belief that repentance extends farther than just the big sins. Sometimes when we talk about repentance we think about big sins like fornication or breaking the word of wisdom. However, we are required to repent of all of our sins, and for most of us those sins are small–things like losing patience with a stranger who has done something that bothers you, or forgetting to say your prayers in the morning, or things like that. The Atonement allows us to change even these small things so that we can become more like the Savior.

So, seeking an article about applying repentance to your every day life, I found Elder Condie’s article. He talks about how cultivating a disposition to do good will make it much easier to take care of those small things. When we change enough we will no longer even want to do those little sins that plague us from day to day.

While reading this article I must confess I began to feel overwhelmed. Elder Condie listed so many things, like going to the temple regularly and always remembering to read your scriptures and using your free time to do only really good things, that I have trouble remembering sometimes. I thought, clearly I do not have what he is talking about because if I did then I would not have problems with these little things.

Then I thought back to Elder Samuelson’s article on perfectionism I read last week. If we truly have no diposition to do evil then we will be perfect. It is a great, wonderful thing we should work on every day. But, we cannot expect ourselves to be that way right now. The important thing is that I am progressing in relation to myself, not how I compare to others.

I do know that when I cultivate in myself a disposition to do good my whole life becomes much much better. When I think back to times in my life when I was really seeking to do good, I can see how that effort cultivated in me a disposition to do good continually. And, when I had that disposition to do good all of these little sins didn’t go away, but they did become easier. I was able to repent of some and move on to others and feel good about all of it.

Today I am going to ponder how I can continue to cultivate in myself a disposition to do good. I know that this program of scripture study is really helping my disposition to do good. Also, I remember ways that have helped me in the past. For example, I remember when I was attending devotional every week while I was attending BYU-Idaho it was a huge boost in my disposition to do good. Maybe I can find something similar for me to do now.

What in your life helps you to cultivate a disposition to do good continually? Can you think of times in your life when doing good was easier for you, and see perhaps why that was so?

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