4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.
5 Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.
(1 Nephi 6:4-5)
Nephi demonstrates an important decision-making principle in these verses: when we are clear about our priorities and when we know they are aligned with God’s will, we don’t have to try to please everyone. We know that some people will disapprove of our actions, and we are okay with that, because we understand that we are doing what is right and is what Heavenly Father expects us to do.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke in the last General Conference about our need to avoid being unduly influenced by peer pressure. He shared the the following quotation from New York Times columnist David Brooks:
“In a guilt culture you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honors or excludes you. … [In the shame culture,] moral life is not built on the continuum of right and wrong; it’s built on the continuum of inclusion and exclusion. …
“… Everybody is perpetually insecure in a moral system based on inclusion and exclusion. There are no permanent standards, just the shifting judgment of the crowd. It is a culture of oversensitivity, overreaction and frequent moral panics, during which everybody feels compelled to go along” (“The Shame Culture,” New York Times, March 15, 2016, as quoted in “The Voice of Warning,” General Conference, April 2017).
Today, I will ensure that my priorities are aligned with God’s will, and I will avoid being “tossed about” by the changing and conflicting opinions of the people around me (Ephesians 4:14). Like Nephi, I will acknowledge in advance that some people will not agree with my decisions, and I will intentionally decide to do what is right regardless of the criticism I may face as a result.