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How can I develop Christlike love?

The pure love of Christ, known as charity, is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul (see 1 Nephi 11:23). Jesus Christ is the perfect example of charity. In His mortal ministry, He “went about doing good,” showing tender compassion for the poor, afflicted, and distressed (see Matthew 4:23; Acts 10:38). To develop Christlike love, we must seek it, pray for it, and follow the example of the Savior in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and other resources will help the young women develop the Christlike attribute of charity?

Genesis 45; Luke 23:33–34; Alma 61:9 (Examples of people who showed love)

Leviticus 19:18 (Love thy neighbor as thyself)

1 Samuel 16:7 (The Lord looks on the heart)

John 15:9–13 (Christ demonstrated His love for us by laying down His life)

1 John 4:7–11, 18–21 (God is love)

Mosiah 4:16 (Succor those who stand in need of your succor)

3 Nephi 12:44 (Love your enemies)

Moroni 7:45–48 (Charity is the pure love of Christ; pray to be filled with this love)

Thomas S. Monson, “Love—the Essence of the Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014

Thomas S. Monson, “Charity Never Faileth,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 122–25

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 70–77

Charity,” True to the Faith (2004), 27–29

Videos: “Cheering Each Other On,” “For Madison,” “Sharing the Light of Christ,” “Bullying—Stop It”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • On a few slips of paper, write “I have felt the most love from someone when ___________.” Hand these slips of paper to each of the young women before class begins, and ask her to think of how she would fill in the blank. Invite the young women to share their thoughts to begin the lesson.
  • Invite the young women to sing “Love One Another” (Hymns, no. 308). Ask the young women to share what the words of this hymn mean to them. 

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women learn how to develop Christlike love. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the young women to read Moroni 7:47–48. What do the young women learn from these verses about how to develop Christlike love? What does the phrase “pure love of Christ” mean to them? Invite the young women to find stories in the scriptures that illustrate the Savior’s love, and ask them to share these stories with each other. They could also read and discuss stories in one of the talks by President Thomas S. Monson listed in this outline. Invite them to share examples of times when they or people they know have been blessed by acts of Christlike love.
  • Ask the young women to read one of the following scriptures: John 15:9–13; 1 John 4:7–11; 1 John 4:18–21. What do they learn about Christlike love from these verses? Ask the young women how Jesus Christ has shown His love for them personally. Can they think of any examples from the scriptures in which He showed love? How can we follow His example?
  • Write the following scripture references on the board: Mosiah 4:16 and Leviticus 19:18. Divide the class into two groups, and assign each group one of the scripture passages. Instruct the young women to identify the commandments given in their passage and to write a summary of the commandments on the board next to the scripture reference. What opportunities do they have to follow these commandments at home, at school, and in the community? What obstacles might keep us from obeying these commandments? How can we overcome these obstacles? Invite the young women to watch “Bullying—Stop It” and discuss what they can do to live these commandments when they face similar situations.
  • Invite the young women to read 3 Nephi 12:44 and identify the commandments the Lord gives regarding how we should treat our enemies. Write what they find on the board. Discuss with the young women possible reasons the Lord would ask us to love and pray for those who hate us. Invite the young women to find and share examples in the scriptures of people who showed love to those who had mistreated them (such as Joseph in Egypt [Genesis 45], the Savior forgiving His crucifiers [Luke 23:34], or Pahoran responding to Moroni’s threatening letter [Alma 61:9]). Give the young women an opportunity to ponder ways they can follow these examples in their own relationships with others.
  • As a class, read, watch, or listen to the sections titled “The Bottom Line” and “The Love of God” from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “The Merciful Shall Obtain Mercy.” Instruct the young women to look for the counsel President Uchtdorf gives to those who feel negative feelings toward others and how we can get rid of these feelings. Invite the young women to quietly ponder someone in their life who they may have bad feelings for and think of ways they can show more Christlike love toward that person.
  • Watch one of the videos suggested in this outline. What do the young women learn about Christlike love from these videos? Ask the young women to share an experience in which someone’s act of service helped them feel the love of the Savior. What did that experience teach them about Jesus Christ? Invite the young women to consider someone they know who may need to feel the love of the Lord. What can they do to help that person?

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they understand how to develop Christlike love? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this topic?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Pray for or show love to someone for whom they have had negative feelings.
  • Show love to someone who may need special attention or help (see Good Works value experiences 3, 5, and 6, Personal Progress, 54–55).