Once a week we hold a family activity we call, Family Home Evening. Or if you are my second son “Hamily Fome Evening.” He is definitely big enough to say it correctly. However, I’m pretty sure I’ll cry when he stops calling it that.
Family Home Evening is a program designed for parents to give gospel instruction in the home and for fun! Our children love Family Home Evening! As a parent, I love what it does for my family. I love taking an opportunity to teach formally about gospel principles and scripture stories. Most of all, I love helping my children learn how to take these principles and stories and apply them in their own lives, and in our home! “Making connections!” as my seven-year old would say.
Many wonderful things can come out of preparing for, and holding, regular Family Home Evening. I truly believe that it was a strength and blessing in my life growing up, and that it will be in the lives of my children. If nothing else, Family Home Evening provides us a setting to ask questions, discuss, testify, and grow in our faith at home.
One such question came up this week. Brendan and I had wrangled all the kids into the living room, through the opening song and prayer, and coerced them all into reverence (sort of…). I pulled out the objects I needed to present my lesson on King Solomon and Wisdom when my son raised his hand and asked, “Mom, how did Jesus do it? How did He not ever mess up and do anything bad?…Because, it’s hard…” My son’s voice trailed off and he choked a little on that last line. Looking down at him, seated on the floor next to his 5 year old brother and his 4 year old sister, he suddenly seemed so old to me. And so young. He swallowed hard. I could see the tears begin to brim in his eyes. Those blue almond shaped eyes, like his Dad’s. I had never really considered his question before. How had Christ done it? because it IS hard! Even for wonderful little boys (and girls) who know what is right and want what is right! IT IS HARD! I struggled with my answer.
Fortunately, my husband had an insight that I think is true. Brendan explained to our children that Jesus could live a life without sin, without doing anything bad, because He loved Heavenly Father more than anything else! Jesus loved Heavenly Father so much that He never let anything this world had to offer come between Them! Jesus loved Heavenly Father so much that with every decision He made (big or small) He never forgot what Heavenly Father wanted Him to do. More importantly, Jesus never forgot the kind of person Heavenly Father wanted Him to become!
So, how do we live our lives to be Christ-like?
“Thou Shalt love the Lord they God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind. This is the first and the great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (I added the italics KJV Matt 22:27-28)
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (KJV John 14:15) Obedience is the evidence of our love for the Savior, as was the Savior’s obedience evidence of His love for the Father.
My son is right, though. It truly is hard. We live in a fallen world, but we are not left without resources to guide and strengthen our faith! We are not left without a way to correct our mistakes! Through the Atonement, through Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane, His death, and His glorious Resurrection we are blessed with power over the bad! We are blessed with the power of repentance!
Repentance is what makes perfection possible in this life. Repentance is the sweetest blessing.
To my sweet boy, who feels things deeper than many, and to all of us pondering similar questions: You LOVE God the Father. You LOVE the Savior. You LOVE all others. And when you mess up, whether you meant to or not, you LOVE the Father and the Son enough to turn to them, confessing your wrong, seeking forgiveness, compensating and making amends to those you wronged. Love Him enough not to do it again. It will be hard.
Don’t worry, sweet boy, I’ll help you. I’ll remind you how very much our Heavenly Father loves and treasures His Children. I’ll remind you that hard things always take practice and that’s what this life is for, to practice!
Will you help me, too? I need you to remind me that it’s okay to forget and mess up and that we can make it better by turning to the Savior. I need you to help me remember how to forgive quickly. You are so good at that.
Please, let’s help each other. Let’s love Heavenly Father more than anything this world has to offer. Let’s help others on their way.