“Love God, love your neighbor,” For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices (2022)
“Love God, love your neighbor,” For the Strength of Youth
To help you make good choices, God gives commandments. He does this because He loves you. And the best reason to obey God’s commandments is that you love Him. Love is at the heart of God’s commandments.
God loves you. He is your Father. His perfect love can inspire you to love Him. When your love for Heavenly Father is the most important influence in your life, many decisions become easier.
The two greatest of all commandments, Jesus taught, are to love God and love your neighbor. And who is your neighbor? Everyone! Everything else taught in the scriptures and by the prophets is connected to these two commandments.
All people are your brothers and sisters—including, of course, people who are different from you or disagree with you. Heavenly Father wants His children to love each other. When you serve His children, you are serving Him.
Show love for God by keeping His commandments. For example, by keeping the Sabbath day holy, including by faithfully preparing for and partaking of the sacrament, you show God that you are willing to dedicate one day a week to Him. As you fast and pay tithes and offerings, you show God that His work is more important to you than material things. When you use the names of God and Christ with reverence, never in a vain or casual way, you show you are grateful for all They have done for you.
Treat everyone as a child of God. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you can lead out in treating people of all races and religions and any other groups with love, respect, and inclusion—especially those who are sometimes victims of hurtful words and actions. Reach out to those who feel lonely, isolated, or helpless. Help them feel Heavenly Father’s love through you.
Make sure your language reflects love of God and others—whether you’re communicating in person or virtually. Say things that uplift—nothing that might be divisive, hurtful, or offensive, even as a joke. Your words can be powerful. Let them be powerful for good.
Loving all of God’s children starts at home. Do your part to make your home a place where everyone can feel the Savior’s love.
Your relationship with God will deepen as you express your love by obeying His commandments and keeping your covenants with Him.
Your relationship with others will deepen as you express your love through Christlike service. You will find joy in making the world a more loving place.
How can I feel God’s love? Heavenly Father’s love is always available. Talk to Him often through prayer. Share your feelings with Him, and listen for impressions from Him. Read His words in the scriptures. Think about all that He has done for you. Spend time in places and activities where His Spirit is present.
Does the Lord expect me to love everyone, even those who treat me badly? The Lord expects you to love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you. However, that does not mean you should stay in a situation that causes you emotional, physical, or spiritual harm. Set healthy boundaries to keep yourself safe. If you are being bullied or abused—or if you know this is happening to someone else—talk to a trustworthy adult.
When and how should I get to know members of the opposite sex? The best way to get to know others is through genuine friendship. While you are young, build good friendships with many people. In some cultures, youth get to know members of the opposite sex through wholesome group activities. For your emotional and spiritual development and safety, one-on-one activities should be postponed until you are mature—age 16 is a good guideline. Counsel with your parents and leaders. Save exclusive relationships for when you are older. Spend time with those who help you keep your commitments to Jesus Christ.
What can I do if my home is not a place of love? Your Savior knows your situation, and He loves you. Be patient, continue to keep God’s commandments, and be a good example to your family. Build relationships within your ward family. Prepare now to build your own family founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
See Isaiah 58:3–11 (purposes of fasting); 58:13–14 (blessings of honoring the Sabbath); Malachi 3:8–10 (blessings of paying tithing); Luke 6:27–28 (love your enemies); 10:25–37 (who is my neighbor?); John 3:16–17 (God loved us, so He sent His Son); 14:15 (we keep the commandments because we love God); 1 John 4:19 (we love God because He loves us); Mosiah 2:17 (when we serve others, we are serving God).
Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?
Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
Are you a full-tithe payer?