by Kari Pike
I wish I could come up with a brilliant title and an even more fascinating first sentence so that you could feel what I am feeling right now. I could blame my inability to express these tender feelings on my inadequacy as a writer, but it goes much deeper than that. Sometimes it isn't possible to say in words what one feels deep inside as the Holy Spirit teaches and enlightens and testifies of truth.
The need for love is universal. As human beings, we crave to be accepted and loved for who we are. It has been humbling to witness the power of love as I've spent time with two different families in crisis. When I observe these families and the unique ways they approach their challenges, I do a great deal of pondering on the power of love. You see, one family makes most of their decisions based on fears about the actions of other people. The other family makes most of their choices based on a desire to serve and be there for each other. The first family panics, runs around in circles and lets things happen to them. The second family tries to stay calm, prays for direction and then takes action. They are proactive in solving their problems and they work together. The first family does not have the gospel in their lives. They struggle to understand the purpose to their lives. There's a lot of drama and heartache and hurt feelings. The second family has a testimony of Christ. They know why they are here and where they are going. They feel the healing love and grace of the Savior working in their lives, and that feeling empowers them.
I looked up "love" in the topical guide of my scriptures. I wanted to gain a better understanding of Christ's motivation to do all He has done and continues to do for us. Moses taught in Deuteronomy 6:5 that we are commanded to "love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." The Savior himself taught in Matthew 22:37 that the first and great commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Then Jesus continues and teaches us that the second commandment is to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Verse 40 in that same chapter explains that "on these commandments hang all the law and the prophets." What does that mean?
The Savior explained to the Pharisees that God is the God of the living and that to "love [God] with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12: 13-37). Paul later explains in Romans 13: 8- 10 that "he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" and "love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." If we love God and love our neighbor, we will have no trouble keeping the rest of the commandments because we will have no desire to bring pain or sorrow to others.
To love with all your heart denotes commitment -- commitment to do the best we can with what we understand -- commitment to use all our strength, whatever that may be, to serve God and our neighbors. To develop and exercise this kind of love is how we "render unto God the things that are God's." This life is not about being the wealthiest, the smartest, or the most beautiful. This life is all about serving God and loving Him through loving and serving the people around us. It's all about the ministering. Everything Christ did, He did because of His love for us. Love is powerful. Love gives us life, spiritually and physically.
A friend once pointed out to me that the greatest gift we can receive and develop is the ability to love others and to to help them feel that love. Stop for a moment and think about the people who have come and gone in your life. I'll guess that the ones you think of first are probably those who have inspired you and left you with a feeling of being loved and cherished. I know I enjoy being around people like that because they leave me feeling more confident and empowered. They bolster and lift me. I want to be the kind of person who inspires greatness in others...because we are all children of God and great in His sight.
The Savior healed and continues to heal us because He loves us. The only way we can return that love is by sharing it with others. I know it sounds cliche, but love really does make the world go round.