This world is filled with so much hatred, selfishness, dishonesty, hurtful behavior, jealousy and people who are lovers of themselves more than others. This causes wars, murders, abuse and untold suffering and misery. Yet the Savior said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13: 35 in the Bible). Why is love so important? The Savior is telling us that love is an important factor in our happiness and well-being both in this life and in our future eternal life.
Joseph B. Wirthlin gave a great talk on this subject,
“In the first century a.d., members of the growing Church in Corinth were enthusiastic about the gospel. Almost all were recent converts to the Church. Many were attracted to it through the preaching of the Apostle Paul and others. But the Saints at Corinth were also contentious. They argued amongst themselves. Some felt superior to others. They took each other to court. When Paul heard this, feeling a sense of frustration, he wrote them a letter, pleading with them to become more unified. He answered many of the questions they had been arguing about. Then, toward the end, he told them that he wanted to show them “a more excellent way.” Do you remember the words he wrote next? ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,’ he told them, ‘I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’ Paul’s message to this new body of Saints was simple and direct: Nothing you do makes much of a difference if you do not have charity. You can speak with tongues, have the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries, and possess all knowledge; even if you have the faith to move mountains, without charity it won’t profit you at all. ‘Charity is the pure love of Christ.’ The Savior exemplified that love and taught it even as He was tormented by those who despised and hated Him. On one occasion the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him a seemingly impossible question: ‘Master,’ they asked, ‘which is the great commandment in the law?’
The Pharisees had debated this question extensively and had identified more than 600 commandments. If prioritizing them was such a difficult task for scholars, certainly they thought the question would be impossible for this son of a carpenter from Galilee. But when the Pharisees heard His answer, they must have been troubled, for it pointed to their great weakness. He replied: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. ‘This is the first and great commandment. ‘And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. ‘On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ Since that day, this inspired pronouncement has been repeated through many generations. Now, for us, the measure of our love is the measure of the greatness of our souls. The scriptures tell us that ‘if any man love God, the same is known of him.’ What a wonderful promise—to be known of Him. It makes the spirit soar to think that the Creator of heaven and earth could know us and love us with a pure, eternal love.
Do you love the Lord?
Spend time with Him. Meditate on His words. Take His yoke upon you. Seek to understand and obey, because ‘this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.’ When we love the Lord, obedience ceases to be a burden. Obedience becomes a delight. When we love the Lord, we seek less for things that benefit us and turn our hearts toward things that will bless and uplift others.”
(From the article by Joseph B. Wirthlin, The Great Commandment, Liahoma Magazine October, 2007)
What Would Our Lives Be Like If Love Guided All of Us
Most people are not aware that after the Savior was resurrected in the Holy Land, he appeared to people living on the American Continent and taught them His Gospel, performed miracles, and organized His church among them. So profound was His influence on them that as a people they lived in peace and righteousness for over 200 years. “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Nephi: 15–16 in the Book of Mormon)