In the beginning, men and women were given the greatest, and the most dangerous, gift. With this gift, we were given the opportunity to make choices in our lives, and the accountability to take responsibility for those choices, for good or evil. Each time we make a choice, we choose to follow forces of good or the forces of evil, and accept the resulting actions.
Along with Adam and Eve, each of us were given these gifts. No one else tells us what to do, no one else is responsible for our actions. The agency of choice also gives us the responsibility for those actions, good or bad.
Most of us make mostly good choices. The consequences of those choices make our lives better. We choose to study in school, choose an occupation we love, and conduct our lives in an honorable manner. Not everything we do is perfect, we make bad choices, and sometimes things happen that are not so great. Sometimes bad things happen to us because others have made bad choices.
A father and child were killed on the highway in Utah this week, not because of poor driving on the father’s part and probably not because of poor driving on the part of another. A doghouse fell off the back of a truck, causing cars to stop on the freeway. The father and daughter stopped, the driver behind him did not. It was not their fault. They had done nothing wrong. They suffered the consequences of another’s actions.
That is a severe example of having to suffer the consequences of another’s behavior, but it happens everywhere. A dad becomes involved in trying to earn enough money to give his family more than he had, a mom works to help give her children a better life, a child wants to be first in line. None of these are particularly bad, but each action can cause pain and suffering in another’s life.
The world seeks to influence us, tries to entice us watch something inappropriate, buy something that causes us pain or sorrow, or hurts our loved ones. Things like pornography, cheating on others, or just waiting to pay a bill. Or, you could choose to share a smile with someone who is sad, give a dollar to a homeless person on the street, play with your child instead of play on your phone. Big or little, our choices will have consequences.
Eve made a choice to eat the fruit she was commanded not to eat. If she had not eaten the fruit, we would not exist. A great prophet tells us:
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.[2 Ne 2:22-23]
The richness of our life is a direct result of Eve eating that fruit. We have a variety of good and bad things in our life, because of her actions. Men through time have slandered her when, in reality, we should give her honor.
In our lives, regardless of what others say, what pressure is brought to bear on us, how enticing something may be, use your agency wisely.