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God's Love

God is the personification of love. Every meaningful form of love comes from the love we ourselves experience directly from God and from others whom He has likewise bestowed with this divine gift.

Sometimes words don’t suffice to express deep feelings of love. Often a wordless hug among loved ones is best when experiencing some of life’s most powerful milestones: births, marriages, long-awaited reunions, serious illnesses, and deaths. These are moments when language often fails us, when our innate ability to embody and express God’s love is the only appropriate response. Our life’s purpose is to refine and grow our ability to understand and replicate the love God gives us so liberally.

The mysteries of God begin and end with His love for us. God’s love is the reason for everything He does—from the extraordinary world He created for us to the agency He gave us to freely explore it. That agency brings with it the potential for growth and eternal progression, but it also brings with it the potential for sin; and we can’t return to God’s presence in a state of sin. This spiritual contrast was resolved by a loving Heavenly Father who balanced the scales of justice by sending His Only Begotten Son to redeem us by suffering and dying for our sins. These selfless acts by both the Son and the Father were inspired by divine love that is impossible for us to fully comprehend; we see things through a mortal lens and are limited accordingly. The Apostle Paul teaches us, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

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Science and reason have their place in helping us try to understand God, but without personal experience of His love, these intellectual disciplines fail to provide a complete picture; they form only fragments of the whole. We were created in God’s image as His spirit children, and we will progress to gradually become more like Him. A crucial component of that journey is modeling God’s love in our own lives. We can love others because instinct and desire compel us to, because we are God’s children; we should therefore magnify His love wherever we go.

Within each of us is the seed of a divine self still growing, and God has given us a way to realize our potential. God gave us Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and the Holy Ghost to testify of truth, comfort, and guide us. These three members of the Godhead—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost—are distinctly separate individuals but united in desire and purpose. Their purpose is our happiness and our salvation. They want each of us to achieve the kind of oneness with them and with each other that They already have.

The prophet David O. McKay said, “Happiness is the purpose and design of existence. ‘Men are that they might have joy.’ Virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping the commandments of God lead to a happy life” (David O. McKay, Pathways to Happiness, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay [1964], xi). These words are echoed in Moses 1:39: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Imagine the tenderness that God must have for us, the parental patience, pride, and compassion essential to be so devoted to our progression. Imagine if we ourselves were that good to each other.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently described it this way: “There is one virtue—one quality—that could solve all the world’s ills, cure all the hatred, and mend every wound. If we only learned to love God as our Father in Heaven, this would give us purpose in life. If we only learned to love our fellowman as our brothers and sisters, this would give us compassion. . . .

“These are God’s great commandments—to love God and to love our fellowman. If we distill religion down to its essence, we nearly always recognize that love is not merely the goal of religion, it is also the path of true discipleship. It is both the journey and the destination” (“Fellow Travelers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God” [address given at the John A. Widtsoe Symposium at the University of California, Apr. 24, 2015], lds.org/prophets-and-apostles).

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