Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Love Makes the Difference

If there is one thing I wish my father had understood, it would be this:

“Fathers, if you wish your children to be taught in the principles of the gospel, if you wish them to love the truth and understand it, if you wish them to be obedient to and united to you, love them! And prove to them that you do love them by your every word or act to them. For your own sake, for the love that should exist between you and your boys-however wayward they might be… when you speak or talk to them, do it not in anger, do it not harshly, in a condemning spirit.

“Speak to them kindly; get down and weep with them if necessary and get them to feel tenderly toward you. Use no lash and no violence… approach them with reason, with persuasion and love unfeigned…. You can’t force your boys, nor your girls into heaven. You may force them to hell, by using harsh means in the efforts to make them good, when you yourselves are not as good as you should be.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 316-17.)

I wonder how much of my behavior in my younger years could have been avoided had I only been taught gospel principles with love. What I knew of the gospel was rules, harshness, hypocrisy, and punishment. I didn't understand the why of obedience, or the blessing it was meant to be. I couldn't comprehend a loving Heavenly Father because I had never experienced a loving earthly father. I had no reason or desire to follow either because I didn't feel that they had my best interest at heart.

This is why it does no good to try to force anyone to accept or live the gospel. We learn best from those who we feel genuinely care about us, and when we are taught with love, it sinks deep in our heart and makes a lasting impression. The only way to teach, the only way to share what's important to us, the only way to have true communication, the only way to experience unity, is through love. 

1 comment:

Stephanie Turner said...

Amen to that!!! I'll second that motion!