September 20, 2020 - Naughty or nice?

Sometimes we confuse God with Santa Claus. We picture Him dishing out coal or candy depending on whether we have been naughty or nice. We need to see God as He truly is—a ­loving Father who is teaching us and, as we turn to Him, making “all things work together for [our] good.”
When we make a choice, we are indicating what we value, what we desire, and, ultimately, what we are. And what we are—more than how we act—is what prepares us for eternal life.

Elder James B. Martino, "Choose You This Day Whom Ye Will Serve", BYU Speeches, September 15, 2020

At least for me, I see things that I do as bad or good, and I tend to focus on the bad to try to be better and do the good. And, because of that, I tend to categorize myself sometimes in the "not so good" column.

But I don't think God sees it that way. Sure, He knows there are "not so good" things that we as mortals do, because that's the nature of mortality. But He does not put me into the bad column because of what I do and then move me back to the good column when I choose right. Nor does He even give any attention to the wrong I do. Because He knows that as soon as He focuses on the wrong that I do, then that is all I'll live up to. Something that I'm still trying to learn.

He ALWAYS sees me as good. He always focuses on my potential, not my behavior. Where I see things that I do as right and wrong...He sees me, the person, the son of God. And not the things I do. But He knows that things I do add up to what my character is. So, He gave me a guard rail to help me stay on the road and to do good so my character ends up being good. Another word for that guard rail is commandments.

So when I make a wrong choice, He gets disappointed. Not because that's just who I am, or, rather, an excuse I make for my behavior, like I "was born this way"....but because He knows I'm not living up to my potential and that saddens Him. He sees the whole picture not just the now.

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