Sunday, June 11, 2017

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on the blessing of Christlike friends

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1986, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1986 until his passing in 2008 at age 91.
"The compassion of Christlike friends deeply touches and changes our lives. We should well remember that the Lord often sends 'blessings from above, thru words and deeds of those who love' (Hymns, no. 293). Love is the very essence of the gospel of Christ.
"In this Church, prayers for help are often answered by the Lord through the simple, daily service of caring brothers and sisters. In the goodness of genuine friends, I have seen the reflected mercy of the Lord Himself. I have always been humbled by the knowledge that the Savior regards us as His friends when we choose to follow Him and keep His commandments. (See John 15:14; D&C 84:63; D&C 93:45.)"
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Valued Companions," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 32
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The brotherhood and sisterhood that exists among true saints is a priceless treasure. When individuals begin to grasp what it truly means to "bear one another's burdens" or to comfort and support, remarkable things take place. I love Elder Wirthlin's phrase "the compassion of Christlike friends." Compassion is a powerful word, meaning the ability to feel deep emotions with someone. It's truly a Christlike emotion; those who possess it are well on the path to becoming like Him. Having "Christlike friends" in our lives can truly change our lives.

This second paragraph is reminiscent of President Spencer W. Kimball's earlier observation:
"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to '… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees' (D&C 81:5)."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Small Acts of Service," Ensign, December 1974
How blessed we are to have such friends! What a privilege to be such a friend to others! That should be one of our greatest quests—to become such a friend to those around us, providing the Christlike love as His agents and representatives.

And finally, the greatest compliment of all is to be called a friend by the Savior Himself. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (John 15:14.)

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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