Today I read 1 John 2 which is all about our relationship with Christ and each other. John states in this chapter that if we love God, we will keep His commandments. And this is true, when we love someone here on earth, we strive to do the things that will make them happy. Keeping the commandments of God makes God happy. When we don't we cause Him pain because we are causing the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be harder than it needed to be because Jesus is having to atone for our sins that we committed that could have been avoided if we had lived the commandments.
It's no different here on the earth. Children obey their parents because they love their parents and want to emulate them. My daughter is constantly doing things she sees her mother and me doing so she can be like us. When we ask her to do things she, most of the time, will do them because she loves us. I recall as a child, a teenager and finally an adult doing things my parents asked me to do because of my love and respect for them. Now, sadly, there are some children who do things out of fear of their parents or fear of the consequences, but we need to strive to do things out of love instead. It is a far better way to motivate. I recently had just such a conversation with a friend of mine about whether or not it was better to rule by love or by fear. The problem with ruling by fear, is that the person or persons, are always trying to find a way out of it and to undermine you. But when you rule by love, people will go above and beyond what you expect of them and try their best to please you. It is far, far better to rule by love than any other method out there.
John also talks about loving or hating our brother. John states that if we love our brother we are in the light but if we hate our brother we are in darkness. This really got me thinking because there are some genuinely evil people in this world, people that are so despicable and horrible in the things they do it honestly makes me want to cry. How can such people be loved? How can they even be worthy of love? But then I wondered how Heavenly Father feels about them. They are His children, no matter what they are doing. I wonder how I would feel if my child one day did such despicable things. Would it change my basic love for her? I honestly don't know but they call it unconditional love for a reason.
We have, in the past, been commanded to love everyone. My father always told me that it doesn't mean I have to like them, but I have to love them. But I think ultimately John's statement is more simple than that. You cannot actively hate someone without driving away the Spirit. It's not possible. Once those feelings of anger and resentment start and they get your blood boiling, the Spirit leaves. This is because when we have feelings of hate, we have the spirit of contention, which we learn in 3 Nephi is always of the devil. It is impossible to have enmity and still have the Spirit of God. It's not possible. That is what John means I think. No matter what people do around us, we need to work on forgiving them and doing what is right towards them.
Really it all boils down to the two great commandments, love God and love our neighbor, or love everyone else in other words. When we follow these commandments, we will naturally follow all the other commandments that we have been given because they are subsets of the two great commandments. We need to make sure that we show that love for God in all we do, so that we can keep the Spirit about us. If we can do that, then this life will be a paradise no matter what the world is doing around us. Until tomorrow.