Love–the Essence of the Gospel

Thanks for joining me in studying and applying the inspired counsel of living prophets from this most recent general conference. I look forward to learning and sharing together as we each “resolve to do a little better” in our guided climb to come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Review and study the entire talk: “Love–the Essence of the Gospel” by President Thomas S. Monson, April 2014.

Here are some of my favorite points and questions to ponder. Please share your insights and applications in the comment section:

1.  “Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. Said President Spencer W. Kimball: ‘We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.’ Often our opportunities to show our love come unexpectedly.”

What opportunities do I have to show love and kindness today? Who will I show love and kindness to today?

2. “Some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: ‘Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?’ The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect….Let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions.”

How will I treat my husband and children with more kindness and respect today? How will my words and actions show my family how much I love them?

Both of these quotes reminded me of this insight I heard while listening with my kids to Wonder, by R. J. Palacio: “It’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed…If you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

3. “Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love. In our families, as well as with our friends, there can be hurt feelings and disagreements. Again, it doesn’t really matter how small the issue was. It cannot and should not be left to canker, to fester, and ultimately to destroy. Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.”

Who will I express sincere apology to and ask for forgiveness? Who will I forgive? 

4. “Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment. Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound. These words and actions and many others can communicate love. Dale Carnegie, a well-known American author and lecturer, believed that each person has within himself or herself the ‘power to increase the sum total of [the] world’s happiness … by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged.’…As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”

How will I express my love today? How did I respond with love and kindness to whatever came my way today?

Review and study additional “Guided Climbs.”