Monday, January 16, 2012

"Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself" (George Albert Smith lesson #2)

"The measurement of the result of what love and charity may bring into the world is impossible. Opportunity is offered in every branch and ward and mission field to go about 
radiating sunshine

developing happiness and lifting up those who are discouraged, and bringing joy and comfort to those who are in distress."
--President George Albert Smith

The exact phrase "Love thy neighbor as thyself" appears in the scriptures 8 times.  How quickly can you find one of the references?  Our Relief Society presidency was pretty quick -- both Devon and Margie found D&C 59:6 in a very short time!

President Smith had a goal to love all his neighbors -- throughout the entire world.  

“I do not have an enemy that I know of, and there is no one in the world that I have any enmity towards. All men and all women are my Father’s children, and I have sought during my life to observe the wise direction of the Redeemer of mankind—to love my neighbor as myself. … You will never know how much I love you. I have not words to express it. And I want to feel that way toward every son and every daughter of my Heavenly Father."

Here is a story that perfectly illustrates this goal:

“On a cold winter morning, the street cleaning crew [in Salt Lake City] was removing large chunks of ice from the street gutters. The regular crew was assisted by temporary laborers who desperately needed the work. One such wore only a lightweight sweater and was suffering from the cold. A slender man with a well-groomed beard stopped by the crew and asked the worker, ‘You need more than that sweater on a morning like this. Where is your coat?’ The man replied that he had no coat to wear. The visitor then removed his own overcoat, handed it to the man and said, ‘This coat is yours. It is heavy wool and will keep you warm. I just work across the street.’ The street was South Temple. The good Samaritan who walked into the Church Administration Building to his daily work and without his coat was President George Albert Smith of The Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His selfless act of generosity revealed his tender heart. Surely he was his brother’s keeper." (President Thomas S. Monson)

Throughout the lesson, President Smith used many action words to describe how to love.  He encouraged us to evidence our love by our conduct, by our gentleness, by our faith, by our charity, by imparting of our substance, by saying a kind word, by teaching the truth, by our visits, by disseminating our light, by lifting others up, by bringing joy and comfort.
President Smith also taught that loving others helps us feel good as well.  He used words like happiness, enriched, peace and warmth when describing how we will be blessed.

"I have only good will in my heart for mankind. I haven’t any animosity in my heart toward any living human being. I know some that I wish would behave themselves a little better than they do, but that is their loss, not mine. If I can get my arm around them and help them back on the highway of happiness by teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ, my happiness will be increased thereby. … You cannot drive people to do things which are right, but you can love them into doing them, if your example is of such a character that they can see you mean what you say."
President George Albert Smith

May we be inspired to love all of God's children and serve them as we can.

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