Viewpoint: Look for the Good, Then Be the Good

Contributed By the Church News

  • 24 September 2017

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency emphasizes the importance of not only seeing the good in the world but also making an effort to be the good in the world.

Article Highlights

  • There is much good in the world to see if we will look for it.
  • Being the good in the world will bring the ultimate happiness.
  • Service is a great way to be the good in the world.

“When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency 

In 2000, in an effort to create wholesome television programming, Brigham Young University founded BYUtv. Owned by the university and operated out of the Provo, Utah, campus, BYUtv has created original programming in an effort to produce quality entertainment for the entire family.

Whether it is the hit comedy and youth favorite Studio C series, a hidden-camera show called Random Acts, or a live broadcast of a BYU sporting event, the cable channel has grown over the last 17 years and now reaches more than 53 million households via cable and satellite companies.

“BYU Broadcasting is an integrated media organization that inspires people to see, do, and be the good in the world by providing uplifting content, magnifying the university, engaging like-minded communities, and elevating ideals into action,” the BYUtv website reads.

The network’s tagline is “see the good in the world.”

In a time where it is easy to be critical of others, easy to approach the world with pessimism and negativity, and easier than ever to find filth at the touch of a button, it is good to remember the motto of BYUtv—“see the good.”

In the October 2015 women’s session of general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency shared the parable of “A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose.”

The story begins by introducing an 11-year-old girl named Eva, who “absolutely, positively did not want to go and live with her great-aunt Rose. Not at all. No way.”

Eva’s mother was scheduled to have surgery that involved a lengthy recovery, so her parents decided to send her to live with her relative for the summer.

When the young woman got to her relative’s house, she noticed everything in the home was old—old books, old trinkets, and even her great-aunt Rose was old. All she could see was how much she didn’t want to be there.

“Even the house itself seemed lonely,” President Uchtdorf said in his talk. “It was out in the countryside, where the houses are far apart. No one Eva’s age lived within half a mile. That made Eva feel lonely too.”

After being away from her parents, home, and friends for some time, Eva began to notice her great-aunt Rose.

“She was a large woman—everything about her was large: her voice, her smile, her personality,” President Uchtdorf said. “It wasn’t easy for her to get around, but she always sang and laughed while she worked, and the sound of her laughter filled the house.”

Every night Rose would pull out her scriptures and read out loud before offering the most beautiful prayers, thanking her Heavenly Father for all of the beauties of the earth.

“Over time, Eva made a surprising discovery: Great-Aunt Rose was quite possibly the happiest person she had ever known,” President Uchtdorf explained.

But how could that be? She had never married, had no children, had no one to keep her company, and had a hard time physically doing simple things.

Great-Aunt Rose was able to “see the good” in her life. But more than just seeing the good, Great-Aunt Rose was able to “be the good” by helping others in her life.

In the parable, she told young Eva, “When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs. … That is what makes us happy.”

Not only is it important to see the good in the world; it is important to take it one step further to be the good.

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin urged disciples of Christ to “be the good” through service: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

“I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives,” President Thomas S. Monson said in his October 2009 general conference address. “Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives” (“What Have I Done for Someone Today?”).

In that same address, President Monson shared an experience he had during the October 1963 general conference in which he was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“President David O. McKay made this statement: ‘Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.’”

Recently, after multiple tropical storms tore through the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, countless numbers of people—young and old—have been displaced. In response to the destruction, Church members of all ages donning yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests have—alongside community members—gathered, divided up, and set out to help people in need.

Amid destruction and much sadness, even victims left with no material possessions have been able to see the good in the world as they have worked side-by-side with others to clean up.

“Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?

“Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above. Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love” (“Have I Done Any Good?Hymns, no. 223).

May we have eyes to “see the good” in the world as we strive to live and serve as Jesus Christ—who is the ultimate example of “being the good.”