Yelling “Time Out” Won’t Save Us!


I’m sure we have all heard the term “time out”.  Many parents use this term in announcing to their child that their behavior needs to stop.  “Time out” they say to their child in an effort to correct a behavior that is not acceptable.  But a more common usage of this phase is in sports.  You usually take a “time out” when things are not going well and you want to stop the direction that the game is going. Or you want to stop the clock as it ticks towards the end of the game  that you are losing.  

A few years ago at a men’s basketball league, one of the teams was losing by 22 points with 5 seconds left in the game when one of the players on the losing end of the score called “time out.” I was scoring the game and I couldn’t help but wonder if this player had a “23 point” play up his sleeve.  It was funny to me that you would call a “time out” when it was impossible to change the outcome of the game.  As you might imagine the final result of the game was still the same, even though a “time out” had been called.

Many of us travel through life believing  that at some point we can call a “time out” and by so doing we can change the final score of our life.  And while the opportunity for repentance is certainly available, I think it is important to understand that repentance must be sincere and bring about a change of heart.   Amulek taught:

“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world”
(Alma 34: 32-34).

What Amulek was trying to teach is that there is no “deathbed” repentance.  Like the player from the basketball game who somehow thought calling a “time out” with five second left would save the game, we cannot live a life of sin and expect that our total nature will change, just by calling a “time out” in the last moments of our life.  Yes, the same spirit which possess our body at the time we die, is going to be the same spirit that possess our body for the eternities.

I have seen the nature of a few violent men change as they get older.  They mellow out and seem to be more gentle, or are they?  Or could it be that they no longer have bodies that are strong and able to exercise unrighteous dominion on their families and others.  Has the young philanderer had a change of heart when he gets old and no longer has the energy and vitality to be immoral?  Or it is just that his body has betrayed his true nature?  The answers to these questions are as individual as the stars in Heaven.  But, one who does know the answer is our Heavenly Father. He knows the heart and the nature of us all. 

What is certain is that we need to be daily improving and becoming like Christ.  Then as the game progresses, we will not need to call a “time-out” with five seconds left in our life because we will have been making “adjustments” during the entire game of life and victory will be assured. 

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