Theater and Media Arts Department chair Megan Sanborn Jones shared what it means to be a good neighbor and how to turn selfishness into selflessness during her March 8 BYU devotional.
Jones began her devotional by singing Fred Rogers’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” She said that being neighborly doesn’t just turn the day beautiful, but it also turns neighbors into beauties.
“We are living in a moment where neighborly behavior seems hard to find. Civil discourse is dissolving into partisan debate, small kindnesses are lost in expansive intolerance and rampant individualism is replacing community spirit,” she said.
Jones said the world is suffering from a plague of selfishness. She warned of three types of selfishness: selfishness of intellect, selfishness of individualism and selfishness of income.
She quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley to call selfishness “the antithesis of love.”
“Fortunately, however,” Jones said, “I do not believe we have gotten to the bottom of the slide. Jesus Christ himself has given clear direction for how to turn selfishness into selflessness.”
Jones said being a good neighbor means to wonder how your words and actions will impact others, rather than wondering how you will be impacted.
“As we give our selfishness to the Lord, He will turn our weakness into a strength of selfless service,” she said. “As we begin to see every one of God’s children not for their differences, or the ways that we disagree with them, or how they make us feel uncomfortable, we build the neighborhood of saints.”
Jones encouraged students to be willing to accept discomforts in their own lives in their efforts to be better ministers to those around them. “We will become our best as we think of ourselves the least,” she said.
Jones invited students to join in the work of our Heavenly Parents and follow the second great commandment.
“Salvation is not a solo effort. Our happiness in this life and the promised blessings of life to come is dependent on the interdependence we develop with God and our neighbors,” she said. “When we are selfish we are alone. And we were not meant to be alone.”