- Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery when he was visited by his five-year-old grandson. As the little boy looked into his grandfather’s eyes, he saw his pain. “Grandpa,” he asked, “if I loved you more, would you [hurt less]?” Today I ask a similar question of each of us: “If we love the Savior more, will we suffer less?”
He speaks about the Saviors call to turn from the rules of the Law of Moses to the higher law given during the Saviors earthly ministry.
- The disciples were taught to turn from the ways of the natural man to the loving and caring ways of the Savior by replacing contention with forgiveness, kindness, and compassion.
- As the Savior’s latter-day disciples, we come unto Him by loving and serving God’s children. As we do, we may not be able to avoid tribulation, affliction, and suffering in the flesh, but we will suffer less spiritually. Even in our trials we can experience joy and peace.
He provides advice to parents and grandparents to seize the moments we have to teach our families these Christlike principles.
- Parents and grandparents, we tend to bemoan the state of the world—that schools are not teaching moral character. But there is much we can do. We can take advantage of the teaching moments in our own families—that means now. Don’t let them slip by. When an opportunity comes to share your thoughts about the gospel and the lessons of life, stop everything, sit down, and talk with your children and grandchildren.
We sometime feel we are not qualified to teach things that we struggle with ourselves. Elder Hales makes clear that the greatest teacher we have is the Holy Ghost.
- No training class or manual is as helpful as personally studying our scriptures, praying, pondering, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Despite our best efforts, we sometimes have children that make decisions to live their lives contrary to the way that we would hope. Elder Hales gives great advice to parents in these turbulent situations.
- The scriptures tell us that when some of Heavenly Father’s spirit children chose not to follow His plan, the heavens wept. Some parents who have loved and taught their children also weep when their grown children choose not to follow the Lord’s plan. What can parents do? We cannot pray away another’s agency. Remember the father of the prodigal son, who patiently waited for his son to “[come] to himself,” all the while watching for him. And “when he was yet a great way off,” he ran to him. We can pray for guidance about when to speak, what to say, and yes, on some occasions, when to be still. Remember, our children and family members already chose to follow the Savior in their premortal realm. Sometimes it is only by their own life’s experiences that those sacred feelings are awakened again. Ultimately, the choice to love and follow the Lord has to be their own.
He concludes with words of encouragement for us to be more like the Savior.
- If we have not fully done so yet, let us turn more toward forgiveness, kindness, and love. Let us renounce the war that so often rages in the heart of the natural man and proclaim Christ’s caring, love, and peace.
I am personally touched by Elder Hales talk. I have been thinking about the gift of agency recently and how we have to respect peoples decisions not to follow the path that our Heavenly Father has asked us to follow. Elder Hales says "We cannot pray away another’s agency." He also says, "our children and family members already chose to follow the Savior in their premortal realm. Sometimes it is only by their own life’s experiences that those sacred feelings are awakened again." I am grateful to a loving Savior who suffered for all the decisions that people make that somehow teach them a life lesson. The principle of agency is so vital that it was respected by our Heavenly Father in the premortal world. I am sure it pained our Heavenly Father to see His children disregard His plan just as it pains me to see my children learn some hard lessons in their life. But the gift of agency is real. I am grateful to a loving Savior who allows us to make mistakes, and provides a way for all to be made right again when those mistakes help us come to a better place in our lives. Let us take advantage of the great gift the Savior has provided for us and continue to love those that need our patience and understanding to learn the necessary lessons of life.