I believe that people are basically good. I see it everyday---good people, making good choices.
I saw a huge pile of food and cups with Starbucks logo on them that were given to the homeless guy on 145th today. I didn't see him, but I saw the evidence of giving that was left.
I saw a sister in our ward (who didn't see me) hand food to youth collecting for a food bank.
A young man held a door open for me today.
I believe people are basically kind and compassionate. I've been the recipient of that human kindness many times over the years. Most recently, due to my accident, good sisters in our church have brought dinners in to us every other day for two weeks. Two weeks. These are busy people with busy lives and yet they have taken time to care for me and for our family during this difficult time.
When my mother was dying and we were taking care of her, some of these same sisters came and cleaned my house.
People are good.
But sometimes people make poor choices. I've made many poor choices in my life--but I hope the good choices I've made out weigh the bad. I try. Sometimes I fail. And sometimes I fail spectacularly.
Someone asked me tonight if I believed that a man could change. If a man could find God and repent and be a changed man. I answered yes. I know that man can repent and change and become better than he was before. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes people's hearts and people's lives. I've seen it. I've experienced it.
I know it is possible.
I believe that because we are sons and daughters of the Most High God, that we are heirs to the kingdom of heaven. I know that people are good---they are born sinless and pure. When someone has broken our hearts or deceived us, we can turn our backs on them and leave them to their ways or we can forgive. Forgiving them and helping them find their way back might not be easy---but it's right. We don't abandon the sinner--- Christ didn't. We shouldn't.
Personal choices are everything. There have been times when those I've loved have used their ability to choose in ways not consistent with moving in the right direction. I've made poor choices that have not served me well and I've learned to turn around and face the light again. Choosing light over darkness is always the best choice. The right choice.
I'm thankful for the ability to choose. I'm grateful for the blessing of repentance.
I'm especially thankful for the beginning of the new year and new beginnings.