Commanded to Love

Sunday, October 26

Ron Harmon

Ron Harmon

By Ron Harmon, Council of Twelve Apostles

 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

—Matthew 22:37–39 NRSV

I recently had opportunity to share with a gay man whose greatest struggle is accepting that he is worthy of love. It is hard for many of us to imagine such a world, but for many it is a daily struggle. Words are powerful. Over time, they affirm our basic worth as individuals or gradually erode our sense that God loves us and we are children of God.

This young man was not a Community of Christ member. He came across the words of Doctrine and Covenants 164:5:

…Former ways of defining people by economic status, social class, sex, gender, or ethnicity no longer are primary. Through the gospel of Christ a new community of tolerance, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and love is being born as a visible sign of the coming reign of God.

These words prophetically envisage a creation where our primary identity finds itself in our community with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. As the man read these words, the Holy Spirit bore witness of his inherent worth in the eyes of God. It was a turning point in his life and began a long journey of restoring a healthy sense of self-worth—of being lovable.

In Matthew 22 Jesus is clear about what matters most. How we, in love and word, change lives of those who have yet to hear the restoring and redeeming message of Christ’s love. We often think we are just one person or that our witness does not have much effect.

In a world more often characterized by fear and separation than love and community, the words of Doctrine and Covenants 161:3c encourage us:

Be assured that love will overcome the voices of fear, division, and deceit.

Prayer for Peace Loving God, we thank you for continual assurances of your love. May we be aware of those who might not know of your love. Help us assure them through word and witness that you love them.

Spiritual Covenant: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Read Psalm 139:13–18. Imagine God watching you grow in your mother’s womb. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)? Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has for you and everyone. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant

Today, God, I will express my love for you by showing love to a neighbor.

Leave a comment


  1. Melba J Dixon

     /  26 October 2014

    Thank you, Ron, for including all in the circle of God’s love.

  2. Diane Akers

     /  26 October 2014

    Thanks for sharing! Powerful message for all!


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