Sunday, February 11, 2018

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on simple acts of kindness and love

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.
"In a recent message of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Music and the Spoken Word, a story was told about an elderly man and woman who had been married for many decades. Because the wife was slowly losing her sight, she could no longer take care of herself the way she had done for so many years. Without being asked, the husband began to paint her fingernails for her.
"'He knew that she could see her fingernails when she held them close to her eyes, at just the right angle, and they made her smile. He liked to see her happy, so he kept painting her nails for more than five years before she passed away.' ('Selflessness,' Sept. 23, 2007, broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word)
"That is an example of the pure love of Christ. Sometimes the greatest love is not found in the dramatic scenes that poets and writers immortalize. Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.
"True love lasts forever. It is eternally patient and forgiving. It believes, hopes, and endures all things. That is the love our Heavenly Father bears for us."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Great Commandment," General Conference, October 2007
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

How do we manifest love to each other? Is it only in "dramatic scenes" and elaborate expressions? Elder Wirthlin suggests that the greatest manifestations are in small, simple acts of service and kindness:

This is a great message to ponder. While we do know that our Savior and Heavenly Father have manifested love to us in dramatic ways, including the eternal Atonement of Jesus Christ, perhaps there are also simpler "acts of kindness and caring" we receive from divine sources. And if so, how do we emulate them? Acts of forgiveness, encouragement, support, and generosity are certainly a part of the love we should manifest in our interactions with one another.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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