The courage to reconsider

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“The courage to reconsider,” New Era, July 1971, 18

The courage to reconsider

“The Spoken Word” from Temple Square, presented over KSL and the Columbia Broadcasting System, May 2, 1971. © 1971 by Richard L. Evans

“There is no dishonor in rethinking a problem,” wrote an acute observer, “but there is disaster in pursuing a wrong course.”1 But often pride or perverseness or embarrassment could cause a person to continue a wrong course, even when he knows he is wrong. People may issue an ultimatum, sometimes in anger, sometimes on impulse. They lay down rigid, unreasonable rules. They say, “Do this—or else.” Or, “I’ll show them.” Or, “I’ll do this if it’s the last thing I do.” And it may be so. There are basic principles which justify firm decisions. But often stubborn positions are assumed simply on personal opinion. This recalls the plea of Cromwell to his opponents: “I beseech you,” he said, “… think it possible that you may be mistaken.”2 Sometimes loved ones separate because of pride or stubbornness, or because of the embarrassment of admitting a mistake. But we shouldn’t let such lesser things keep us from reconsidering something that ought to be reconsidered. If we are wrong, it may take courage and character to reverse ourselves. But loved ones should never leave loved ones simply because of something that has been rashly said, when reconsidering will save making more serious mistakes or save a lifetime of regret, wishing we had done differently. Let no one doggedly continue down a wrong road simply because, in some moment of ignorance or anger or impulse, he said he would do so. In such circumstances, always we should have the courage to reconsider, to retract, to withdraw an ultimatum, to admit a wrong, and to say that we are sorry. Young and old, friends and loved ones, children who have pulled away from parents, husbands and wives who have set out on separate ways for the wrong reasons: don’t let pride or stubbornness or hurt feelings or imagined offenses keep you from reconsidering, from turning back, from saying you’re sorry. “There is no dishonor in rethinking a problem, but there is disaster in pursuing a wrong course.”