Jul 6, 2014

Love-the Essence of the Gospel

Love-the Essence of the Gospel
by President Thomas S. Monson

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

President Monson urges us to be like Christ by loving others.  

"We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and , as such, are brothers and sisters.  As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God's children will become easier."
"Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.  His life was a legacy of love.

Essence (noun)- a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.

Christ spent His whole life loving others, even those who were rude, and hateful to Him.
One thing I'm working on is being kind to those who are not, loving those who annoy me, and serving those who are always ungrateful.  Let me be honest:  I struggle in this area.  My "natural-man" reaction is always to be rude back, or to ignore them.  I have to constantly remind myself to be kind.  Sometimes I succeed, other times I fail and have to repent and try again.

See a Need. Fill a Need.
If you have kids then you've probably seen the movie, Robots.   In this movie, when the news gets out that spare parts have been discontinued by Bigweld Industries, the main character, Rodney remembers Bigweld's slogan, "See a need, fill a need", and begins fixing old robots on his own, and eventually ends up saving the day.

Like Rodney, we too can see a need, and then be the one to help fill that need.

"Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us."
(See a need.  Fill a need.)
Quoting President Spencer W. Kimball,
  "We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and serve. . ."
What is their need, and how can we help to fill it?

"Some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes.  Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not.  There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears."

My husband and I have been talking a great deal about this.  We have noticed that sometimes he and I will loose our patience, raise our voice, which ends up hurting our children's feelings.  This is NEVER our intention.  Why is it when we're stressed, or tired, or not feeling well, we allow our emotions get the best of us?

I remember reading an article by Michelle Duggar who related a similar experience.  The solution for her (and for us) is whenever she feels impatient or angry, instead of yelling, she lowers her voice, and whispers instead. 

President Monson quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley says:
"'Why is it that the [ones[ we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words?  Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?'  The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter.  If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect."

"I would hope that we would strive to always be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of those around us. (Especially and including our own family) Let us not demean or belittle.  Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging.  We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence through careless words or actions."

"Love is expressed in many recognizable ways:
a smile
a wave
a kind comment
showing interest in another's activities
teaching a principle with kindness and patience
visiting one who is ill or homebound"

"Dale Carnegie, a well-known American author and lecturer, believed that each person has within himself or herself the 'power to increase the sum total of [the] world's happiness. . .by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged.'  Said he, 'Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.'"

This reminds me of a something Hilary Weeks said in her book, Believe in What You're Doing; Believe in Who You Are.  She said:
"Don't worry about what others think about you, worry about what they think of themselves when they're with you."

Like Christ, we have the power within us to heal others, to lift up the downtrodden, to help save the sinner.  We can do all of this through the power of love.  Through our kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness.

"Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love.  In our families, as well as with our friends, there can be hurt feelings and disagreements.  Again, it doesn't really matter how small the issue was.  It cannot and should not be left to canker, to fester, and ultimately to destroy.  Blame keeps wounds open.  Only forgiveness heals."

Watch an inspiring video on forgiveness HERE

"May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God's children, whether they be our own family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers.  As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way."

Next Week's Talk:
by Elder David A. Bednar
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