As I have lived my life, this statement has been more impactful on me than any other. It helps me to get through the challenges of life and forgive those who I contend with. I look forward to the day when I can live this principle to perfection. Today, all I can do is the best I can.
Matthew 5 : 43:45 KVJ
43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
On Love Your Enemies
Of olden time, and in ages past, Israel’s enemies had been God’s enemies, and the Gentile nations were kept away at sword’s point; had it not been so, the chosen people would have been swallowed up by the world. Their world was one of force and violence in which whole nations were forced to believe what their rulers decreed or be destroyed from off the face of the earth. This tight grip on the minds of men has now been loosened, and now the gospel is to go to the world–all men everywhere are to hear the word. Israel must love the Gentiles, for they are to be adopted into the family of Jehovah.
All men will be judged by what is in their own hearts. If their souls are full of hatred and cursing, such characteristics shall be restored to them in the resurrections. Loving one’s enemies and blessing one’s cursers perfects the soul. Such perfection is the object of the gospel, and of it Jesus now chooses to speak.
–Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol. 2, Chapter 42
Dallin H. Oaks on Love your Enemies
The Lord’s teachings are for eternity and for all of God’s children. In this message I will give some examples from the United States, but the principles I teach are applicable everywhere.
We live in a time of anger and hatred in political relationships and policies. We felt it this summer when some went beyond peaceful protests and engaged in destructive behavior. We feel it in some current campaigns for public offices. Unfortunately, some of this has even spilled over into political statements and unkind references in our Church meetings.
In a democratic government we will always have differences over proposed candidates and policies. However, as followers of Christ we must forgo the anger and hatred with which political choices are debated or denounced in many settings.
[Elder Oaks then quotes the saviors teachings of “Love Your Enemies”]
What revolutionary teachings for personal and political relationships! But that is still what our Savior commands. In the Book of Mormon we read, “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Nephi 11:29).
Loving our enemies and our adversaries is not easy. “Most of us have not reached that stage of … love and forgiveness,” President Gordon B. Hinckley observed, adding, “It requires a self-discipline almost greater than we are capable of.” But it must be essential, for it is part of the Savior’s two great commandments to “love the Lord thy God” and to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). And it must be possible, for He also taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7).