What does reverence really mean?
When you were young, you may have attended church and been taught to be reverent there by keeping your voice low and sitting quietly. As adults, we can understand that reverence is about more than outward behaviors like those.
“Reverence embraces regard, deference, honor, and esteem. Without some degree of it, therefore, there would be no courtesy, no gentility, no consideration of others’ feelings, or of others’ rights. … Reverence directs thought toward God. Without it there is no religion,” taught David O. McKay, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In that case, reverence becomes part of our daily interactions with others. As we’re thinking about God and trying to connect with Him, we do it in a respectful, loving way. This influences everything else. Not only will it make you a better friend; it will also make you a better example of Jesus Christ.
Vaughn J. Featherstone once said, “When we are reverent, we don’t do anything that reflects negatively upon the Lord or His Church. This does not mean just during meetings, but it includes our conduct wherever we may be or in whatever we do.”
How can you cultivate reverence in your home and family?
The world is filled with voices that are loud and rude. Home can be a haven from that noise. Alone or with your family, you could study the importance of respecting others, the value of inviting the Holy Ghost to guide you, and the truth that we are all children of God. By taking time to learn, we show reverence for our own minds, bodies, and spirits.
You can also foster reverence by teaching your children to follow the first two great commandments: to love God and to love your neighbors as yourself.
In a 1994 Liahona story, a dad lovingly explained reverence to his son while on a camping trip:
I love nature. I feel a reverence for nature that is a little like the reverence that I feel for Heavenly Father. I love the mountains so much that I’ve tried to learn about them. I’ve learned the names of the flowers and birds and trees. I’ve learned to walk quietly and sit quietly so that I can watch the animals. I pick up litter whenever I see it so that it doesn’t spoil what’s here, and I’m very careful with our campfire. I do everything I can to show respect for the beauty that is here and try to make sure that my activities don’t interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the area. Every time I come, I love it more.
After I’ve been in the mountains, I have a good feeling about myself. I always leave with a feeling of peace. The reverence that I feel for Heavenly Father is similar, only much stronger.
Our ability to feel reverence for God will be strengthened as we show respect for one another and the world around us. Take a minute today to listen to an episode of Stories from General Conference about reverence.