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How Do We Love Others?

Updated: Feb 24

Talk by Melissa B. - February 11, 2024


Mosiah 18:21-22, ….They should look forward with ONE eye, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.


I think it’s interesting we are actually in a little bit of a similar situation to the people whom this scripture was initially intended. When I began to study the context of the scripture I learned it was during the time period right after the prophet Abinadi was killed and Alma who had believed his words was hiding from the king who was wicked and had begun to teach people in the wilderness. He had taught and babtized many members and so this scripture was a bit of advice for the newly formed congregation. So I love the timing of this message since we are a little like that newly formed congregation too. 


The first part of the scripture I’d like to focus on is the ‘They should look forward’ part. I believe that this refers to having a positive, optimistic outlook and not looking back on past wrongs or holding grudges. So if we are to follow Alma’s council step 1 would be to begin with a clean slate with each other. The members at the time had all just been baptized and had been given a clean slate by our Savior. For us here today we all just had the opportunity to take the sacrament and renew those baptismal covenants so we too have been given a freshly cleaned slate by our Savior. I am sure we have each suffered injustices and been wronged before. Because we are all human I’m sure we each also have been on the other side of that and have been the one doing the offending or wronging. Can you find it in yourself to become a little more Christlike by forgiving and offering a clean slate and just look forward from here out like Alma asks? 


This clean slate we are offering might seem like it is a gift to those who we are irritated or hurt by but actually it is a gift to ourselves because it allows us to better feel our Savior’s love. We can feel at peace knowing we have done what He has asked. And the great thing is you don’t even need to be offered an apology - you can just let it go. 


Forgiving also helps with step 2 of following Alma’s council “having our hearts knit together in unity.” We are all here today in church because we believe in Jesus Christ and His ability to help us to be better. We have that in common. That in itself is unifying. Remembering that we are each children of God trying our best to make it back to Him is a powerful uniting force. Remembering that the core things that make us each alike is more important than the things that make us different makes it easier to cheer each other on in our successes and unifies us in our purpose of returning back home together. Unity means having the same goals and wanting the best for each other. It means understanding that each one of us is struggling on our own path and in our own way and being willing to be there to help in any way we can. Unity is being true brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what it means to look forward with one eye having our hearts knit together. It is working as a team to do what Heavenly Father wants us to. There is so much power in so many of us working together, adding our little bit of strength toward the cause of righteousness. 


In the early days of stay at home church during Covid I really enjoyed it. I liked being able to receive the sacrament at home as a family and then get back into cozy clothes and have no Sunday responsibilities. I thought wow this is really nice. But after a while I realized how much extra effort it took to keep my light from dimming. I had to really put more effort into personal study to maintain my testimony. It was then that I realized how much I need each of you. I need the chance to serve and to be served. I understand now how hard it would be to do it on our own and feel for members of the church who live in areas where the numbers are small. I remember how good it felt to be able to meet again with all of you and take of the sacrament together once again. 


The third and last part of Alma’s admonition is to show love one towards another. We are coming up on Valentines Day this week. (Gentleman this is your reminder!) I don’t know if you have seen those sweethearts candies with the sweet ‘be mine’ or ‘forever’ messages on them? About half the time they are blurry, misprinted or so faint the messages are kind of hard to read. Well this year someone in their marketing department needs a raise because they have taken these rejects and are selling them as limited edition “Situationship” candies with the tag line being “messages as blurry as your relationship.” This made me laugh but it also got me thinking. Is there anyone who should know that I love them think we are in a situationship? Are my messages of love ever unclear or off the mark? And more importantly does the Savior know I love him? Is my gratitude clear? Are my prayers sincere enough? Dictionary.com defines a situationship as "a relationship that is more than friendship but less than a committed relationship." Do my actions towards others show I am committed to the Savior? 


 When asked, “Master, which is the great commandment?” the Savior replied “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” followed by, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The Savior’s response reinforces our heavenly duty to love. 


Some of us are better at loving than others. I really believe being loving for some is a spiritual gift. BUT how and who to love is also a choice and if we don’t feel like it is a gift we naturally have it is a skill that can be developed. 


There are two different types of love I want to talk about today. 


The first type of love is very common. It is conditional love. It’s a very self serving kind of love or what I like to think of as transactional love. For instance I loved my microwave but it recently stopped working and I had no problem throwing it out and replacing it with a new one. My love for my microwave was purely transactional and superficial. Transactional love is disposable and fleeting like that. It sounds like “as long as you do what I want or I get what I want from you I will love you.” Or “as long as you make me look good I will love you.” Or “as long as it is easy for me and you don’t require too much back I will love you.” This kind of love is self serving and we see it all around us. Being loved this way doesn’t feel good.


Vs. The other kind of love which is much more valuable. It is Christlike or Godlike love. This kind of love is extraordinary and has the power to heal people and help them to reach their full potential. **Johnny lingo - Mahana you ugly.   It feels amazing to be loved this way. Many of us experience it first as children in the arms of our mothers. This parental love is meant to remind us of how our Heavenly Father loves us. It is a self sacrificing, higher form of love that for most of us takes some practice. We get that practice inside of our families and our congregations and our neighborhoods. This kind of love says “I will love you like the Savior loves you even if you feel un-love-able so you can always remember what His love feels like.” It sounds like “I will love you even if it is difficult and requires a lot from me because you too are a child of God and are worth it.” 


This kind of love isn’t always easy because it can mean being vulnerable and possibly disappointed by the other person but the effort is worth because it is one more way we can become more Christlike - by learning how to love like Him. 


This can mean serving a neighbor who has been nothing but grumpy to you. It definitely means loving a child or family member who has disappointed you. It means loving, not just tolerating those who have offended us. It looks like letting go of our own pride and preconceived notions and seeing others through God’s eyes. This doesn’t mean that if someone is harmful to us we need to let them continue to harm us but it does mean we can let go of harboring the bad feelings and give the issues to God to judge. 


Paul says in Corinthians “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Charity never faileth”


Moroni 7:47 reads “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”


Think about your most favorite person. (Pause) Now think about your least favorite person. (Pause) My challenge for us today is to learn to love those two people the same way. Because the Lord loves them the very same way.


God gave us his son to show us how much he loved us. This week may we think about what we could give up to show our love to someone else? 


It is my testimony that as we learn to love like this we become unified. I am grateful to be a part of this congregation and this gospel and because of it to have an understanding of my Saviors love. I am grateful to those around me who help me to feel that love through their actions. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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