Music & the Spoken Word: ‘That thou mayest prosper’

Can small gestures, such as giving others the benefit of the doubt, to be slower to judge and to truly wish them well, help change the world? Lloyd Newell asks in this week’s ‘Music & the Spoken Word’ message

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Sunday, March 10, 2024.

We all wish we could make the world a better place. It’s just that we assume big problems require big solutions, and our efforts seem so small. But what if, instead of being paralyzed thinking of what we can’t do, we each picked something simple we can do?

For example, what if we decided to give others the benefit of the doubt, to be slower to judge, and to truly wish them well? Could a simple choice like that make a dent in the turmoil, contention and anger that surround us? Could elevating our thoughts, actions and interactions to a higher, holier level somehow elevate the whole world?

Here are some examples of people trying to do just that: a man says a silent prayer every time he hears or sees that someone is hurting. Even if he is not able to offer direct help, he humbly asks God to intervene in that person’s behalf. It may not seem like much, but it’s heartfelt and sincere.

A woman continually looks for the good in others, even when it’s hard to find. When listening to a speaker who some might find boring, she pays extra close attention, offering nonverbal encouragement. When she is snubbed by someone, she considers what might be happening in that person’s life to make them act that way. This approach always leads to compassion, and she chooses not to retaliate.

Similarly, another woman set a goal to be more patient. She reminds herself of her goal every morning, and throughout the day she finds herself in situations that certainly require patience. Instead of resenting those moments, she gives thanks for the opportunity to improve.

Do such small gestures really change the world? Yes, they do, because they change people, and people are what make up the world. The change may not happen overnight, but it does happen — moment by moment, day by day, one softened heart and one healed relationship at a time. Some positive growth, some encouraging development, some promising effort is always better than nothing.

Long ago, the Apostle John expressed that kind of positive thinking: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health” (3 John 1:2). May we offer that same hope, that same prayer, uplifting each other and, eventually, the whole world.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL News Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM (Ch. 143),, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time on these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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