Few people would think of being a perfectionist as a weakness, especially in the world of academia, but Professor Michael Barnes found that because of his perfectionism he was becoming "obsessed, anxious and pre-occupied"with looking good, preventing him from fully participating in many areas of his life.
Barnes, director of the Master's of Public Health program, used this example in a campus devotional address Tuesday to illustrate how the atonement can help people overcome weaknesses.
Recognizing his weakness, Barnes said he turned to the Lord for help, and, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, was able to overcome his weakness and become more easy going.
"The power of the atonement is designed not only to free us from sin but also to strengthen us in the presence of our weakness," Barnes said.
The devotional will be rebroadcast Sunday, July 6, on BYU-TV at 8 a.m. and 4 and 10 p.m., and on KBYU-TV at 6 and 11 a.m.
Barnes noted that weaknesses are not sins. Weaknesses, he said, should be considered gifts from God to humble and strengthen us.
"There is a difference between weakness and sin. Sin is a conscious act that violates God's law," Barnes said. "Weaknesses are not choices, but are hallowed gifts from God and thus are not sins. God-given weaknesses do not require repentance since they are gifts to help us humbly rely on God and to love and assist others.
"The role of the atonement is to transform us, not our weaknesses," Barnes said. "The way the atonement helps us is by changing us and not necessarily by taking away weaknesses, trials, sin or pain. The Lord's goal is to strengthen, build and grow our capacity through the Atonement - a process we may call perfection."
As we turn to the Lord and ask his help in overcoming our weaknesses, we will receive humility and grace through the atonement. Our testimony and relationship with the Lord will be strengthened, Barnes said.
Writer: Alexis Plowman