As I searched for a theme for a message, I contemplated conditions in the world that are causing so much unrest and unhappiness and then asked myself: What is our greatest need in order to meet these conditions and bring about a change so that we might enjoy peace and happiness?
My answer seemed to center on these two messages, taken from the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” [Matt. 6:33] and “Love one another.” [John 13:34]
In these two statements can be found the key to the solution of all those problems which are causing such misery and trouble for individuals, communities, nations, and the world. By accepting and living according to these two doctrines, we could have joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter. These are the blessings for which we all should be seeking.
When the lawyer asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus answered: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:36–39.)
Let us never forget that the Lord gave us this commandment to love God and to love one another, applying the Golden Rule. We cannot love God without loving our neighbor, and we cannot truly love our neighbor without loving God. This applies to you and to me, and if each of us applies it to himself, we need not worry about the other.
If we are to have this love of which the Savior spoke, and which he emphasizes as being the most important thing in life, it must begin in the home and then carry into our daily lives. Love begins in the home. Sacrifice for one another. Make one another happy.
If there is love between the father and the mother, there will be love between the parents and the children, and among the children. One cannot overemphasize the importance and value of being courteous, kind, considerate, and polite in the home. Where there is true and perfect love in a family, there will be no need to be reminded of such other commandments as “Honour thy father and thy mother,” “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” They will be kept automatically.
By seriously trying to apply the Golden Rule that the Savior gave to us, we will find greater joy, success, satisfaction, and friendship as we go through life, and we will enjoy the love of others and the Spirit of our Father in heaven. If we will always look for the best in others, in our friends, in our neighbors, in our wife, in our husband, in our children, they will turn out to be the most wonderful people in the world. On the other hand, if we are looking for their weaknesses and faults and enlarge upon them, these same people may become even despicable.
Sometimes as I move among people I am almost convinced that it is human nature to magnify the weaknesses in others in order to minimize our own. We sing these words in one of our hymns:
“Let each man learn to know himself;
To gain that knowledge let him labor,
Improve those failings in himself
Which he condemns so in his neighbor.
How lenient our own faults we view,
And conscience’s voice adeptly smother,
Yet, oh, how harshly we review
The selfsame failings in another! …
Example sheds a genial ray
Of light which men are apt to borrow,
So first improve yourself today
And then improve your friends tomorrow.”
—Hymns, No. 91
Let us always remember that men of great character need not belittle others or magnify their weaknesses. In fact, the thing that makes them great is the showing of love for and interest in their neighbors’ success and welfare. Particularly in discussing religion and politics do we have a tendency to try to tear down another’s beliefs and principles. It is distressing to read and hear on every side an attack on an individual who is in public office, whose name is smeared, and whose family suffers also the indignities heaped upon them.
How much better to keep campaigning and debating on a high plane and to avoid all mud throwing. In fact, people appreciate a campaigner who stands on principle and who avoids personal criticisms. How much better to stand for something, not against everything.
As we try to apply the Golden Rule, we must realize that love will not permit us to hold grudges or ill feelings. These canker the soul and crowd out love. We hurt ourselves by holding grudges and ill feelings. We hurt and sometimes destroy the person about whom we are bearing tales. We would not think of stealing from or injuring physically one of our associates, friends, or neighbors, but we do even worse by stealing his good name.
It is not uncommon to see people—clerks in stores, secretaries in corporations, individuals in clubs and in affairs in church and state—talking about and criticizing one another, trying to enlarge on their weaknesses with the idea of belittling them in the hope that their own weaknesses might be minimized or overlooked.
Then with love in our hearts for all our neighbors, and with love for our Heavenly Father, we will want to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, knowing that all other things for our good will be added unto us. It has been my observation, wherever I have been in government and in business, that the man who seeks God and his righteousness is happier, more successful, has greater peace of mind, is more highly respected in business, and contributes more to his community and to the happiness and welfare of his family than the man who leaves this out of his life.
I agree with Abraham Lincoln, who said: “God rules this world. I am a full believer that God knows what he wants man to do, that which pleases him. It is never well with that man who heeds it not. Without the assistance of that divine Being I cannot succeed. With it I cannot fail.”
Every individual whom I have known, every community in which I have lived, and every country of which I have read, and that I have visited, have convinced me beyond question that where the people accept God and keep his commandments, they are happier, more content, more successful, and more secure. It is the godlessness of people and nations that is causing the unrest so evident in the world today. If only everyone who professes Christianity would apply it in his daily life, we could correct these ills. Let us keep hypocrisy out of our lives and be true Christians.
I believe sincerely that if adults will be honest and true and live the teachings of the gospel and set proper example, we need not worry about our youth. We cannot be satisfied to let any act of ours be responsible for influencing the life of any individual so as to make him wonder or falter or question the truthfulness of the gospel, the plan of life and salvation, and the great sacrifice Jesus made so that we might enjoy eternal life and exaltation. The responsibility is great.
Let us each covenant to seek God and live righteously by keeping his commandments and live in such a way that no one will ever be able to excuse himself because his parents, his adult neighbors, his teachers, or any with whom he might associate, through their actions had given him license or excuse to do anything to bring disastrous results, unhappiness, or failure. And let us so live to be a great influence for good and a light unto the world.