I had the opportunity to sit at Walmart and listen to the 700 Club while my oil was being changed. I had never watched this show before, didn't even know it was about religion. But the TV in the little room only had one channel and that was what was on.
The old gentleman on the screen talking had such really bad makeup. His skin was beyond any natural color. Not even tan, but just creepy, bad, makeup job. So it intrigued me, and I started listening.
The speaker and some other lady, forgive me, I do not know their names, started answering email questions from viewers. One message was from a man that asked: I thought God's love was unconditional. But I heard a pastor say that it is not, and I had been taught otherwise. Which is correct? (That was paraphrased of course.)
I thought, this ought to be good. I knew the answer, because of how I had been taught, and I know what is true.
The man, maybe he was a pastor, I have no idea, but the first thing he goes to say is: God is love, and he kept going. But the more he talked, the more I thought, this guy has no idea of who God really is. He made it sound like God was just this concept of love and not a man of flesh and blood. We are made in His image. He is the Father of our spirits. Not some orb of love.
But I know that God loves each of us.
He then explained the answer to the email question that: yes, God's love is conditional.
My first thought was, WHAT!? You have it wrong.
God loves all his children, no matter what. His love is not conditional. God, or I like to call him Heavenly Father, because he is the father of our spirits. We existed in heaven before we came to earth as spirits and our Father in Heaven is our spirit father. Plain and simple. He loves each and every one of us, whether we are righteous or wicked, a sinner or saint. His love never changes, just as the love of a righteous father on earth, he loves his children whether they make good choices or bad.
Then the pastor went on to say that God's love was conditional because we have to accept him and say we follow Him and Jesus Christ is our savior. Part of this is right...but he left out some key truths.
Okay what's wrong with that? It is not God's love that is conditional....
It is our covenants that we make with our Heavenly Father, such as, when we are baptized. It is the power of the Atonement in our life that is conditional.
And I know I lost some of you here, because not everyone knows what the Atonement is. When we came to earth, our Father in Heaven knew we would make mistakes. He knew that our way back to Him would be lost, because we would be unable to meet the demands of justice for our sins. So Jesus Christ was sent to earth as our Savior. He suffered for our sins and met the demands of justice so that mercy could hold sway in our lives, as long as we REPENT. The healing power of the atonement works when we repent and are obedient. Repentance is a daily thing, and we can have to chance to be washed clean from our sins on a regular basis, that is how the Atonement works.
And what covenants did we make at baptism? In our church we promise to stand as a witness of God in all times, and in all things, even until death and to bare one another's burdens.
Here is the scripture from the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 18: 8-10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
And the second thing that is wrong with what the pastor implied is: that all we have to do is say we accept Jesus as our Savior. Not a word was said about repentance or being OBEDIENT.
Obedience is an eternal principle. If we want God to keep his promises to us, then we need to keep our promises to Him. Heavenly Father has promised us many blessings in this life and in the life to come if we are obedient, repent, and endure to the end of our lives faithful.
Okay, so this is a deep post, and I am sure not all of you understand what I am getting at. But you don't need to understand all of it to know that: OUR HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES US NO MATTER WHAT. HIS LOVE IS ALWAYS THERE.
What we need to do is develop a relationship with our Father in Heaven. And we do that by praying to him, reading his holy scriptures, and having faith in Jesus Christ. Then you can understand the love that he has for you. And you will know this by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can pray and feel it in your heart, and you will know.
I leave you with words of a great Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni:
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
And of course he was talking about the Book of Mormon, but we can pray to understand any gospel truths and learn the truth for ourselves by the confirmation of the spirit.
One final thought: I did not feel the spirit while the pastor on TV was speaking. I received no confirmation that his words were true. In fact, they left me confused and disheartened. What does that say?