Doctrine and Covenants 88:125
And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.
Clothe yourself with the bond of charity.
I found myself, when this was first given to me, wondering what it meant. But recent events have shed some light on the subject.
The other night I was talking to my son, my oldest son, and he thinks very black and white, a lot like his dad and a lot of “Type 4” people. He was struggling with a friend of his and needed some counsel.
As we were talking I brought up that God asks us to obey laws. Why is that? We’ve discussed this before and he had a ready answer: so we can be happy. Which is what the scriptures teach us.
I shared with him that Jesus taught us that all the laws fit into the umbrella of two other laws. Do you remember what they are? Of course you do. We learn it in Sunday School.
Love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength.
And love your neighbor as yourself.
You know, I heard someone say that that meant loving ourselves a lot less. But you know what? I think they were wrong. In fact, I know they were wrong, because I have my own personal experience as well as the experience of loved ones to back that up. I think it’s about loving ourselves and others a whole lot more. This world needs a whole lot more love, not less.
You know, love can take on a whole lot of meanings now a days. We love everything from pizza to movies to nature to God. Let’s get specific here. I want to talk about a specific kind of love:
“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail–But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
I love the way Henry Drummond puts it in his book:
The Greatest Thing in the World page 19
Patience; kindness; generosity; humility; courtesy; unselfishness; good temper; guilelessness; sincerity…
The NIV version of the Bible says it this way:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
You know, as I was talking to my son, we started talking about everyday things that we did and how they could or couldn’t keep this “Law of Love”.
Is what I’m doing courteous?
Is what I’m doing kind?
Am I being patient?
Am I protecting someone else and what belongs to them?
Am I generous with what God has given me?
Am I humble?
Am I thinking of others and what they need and want?
We talked about how the rules that society make are all about spelling out in little ways this Law of Love. How many laws would not need to be made, if we simply followed the Law of Love? For the law of love encompasses all of the law. As Henry Drummond says:
The Greatest Gift in the World pages 11-12
Christ said, I will show you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfill the whole law. And you can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of the commandments. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” If a man love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the fulfilling of that law. “Take not His name in vain.” Would he ever dream of taking His name in vain if he loved Him? “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Would he not be too glad to have one day in seven to dedicate more exclusively to the object of his affection? Love would fulfill all these laws regarding God. And so, if he loved Man you would never think of telling him to honor his father and mother. He could not do anything else. It would be preposterous to tell him not to kill. You could only insult him if you suggested that he should not steal–how could he steal from those he loved. It would be superfluous to beg him not to bear false witness against his neighbor. If he loved him it would be the last thing he would do.
And you would never dream of urging him not to covet what his neighbors had. He would rather they possessed it than himself. In this way “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” It is the rule for fulfilling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old commandments, Christ’s one secret of the Christian life.
So, bringing this back to our Dare–to clothe ourselves with the bond of charity.
What does it mean to bond ourselves?
I love the 1828 Dictionary for this. I’m going to bring out two definitions:
“5. Cause of union; cement which unites; link of connection; as the bonds of affection.
6. An obligation imposing a moral duty, as by a vow, or promise, by law or other means.”
So we see that when we clothe ourselves with this bond of charity it is the cement, the glue, if you will, that makes everything stay together.
It is also the “obligation” and “moral duty” that keeps us going when that “in love” feeling is long gone.
And that bond is the bond of perfectness and peace. So when we clothe ourselves with the bond of love, we also clothe ourselves with the bond of perfectness and peace.
And by perfectness, I mean the 1828 dictionary kind:
PER’FECTNESS, noun Completeness; consummate excellence; perfection.
1. The highest degree of goodness or holiness of which man is capable in this life.
And above all things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness Colossians 3:14.
2. Accurate skill.
And by peace, I mean:
PEACE, noun [Latin pax, paco, to appease.]
1. In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.
2. Freedom from war with a foreign nation; public quiet.
3. Freedom from internal commotion or civil war.
4. Freedom from private quarrels, suits or disturbance.
5. Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquillity; calmness; quiet of conscience.
Great peace have they that love the law. Psalms 119:165.
6. Heavenly rest; the happiness of heaven.
7. Harmony; concord; a state of reconciliation between parties at variance.
8. Public tranquillity; that quiet, order and security which is guaranteed by the laws; as, to keep the peace; to break the peace
This word is used in commanding silence or quiet; as, peace to this troubled soul.
Thus we see that by obeying the Law of Love, and clothing ourselves with the bond of charity the capacity to put the world at rest, to keep the world at peace, is activated. Love has the power to heal us individually, in our one on one relationships, in our families, as neighbors, as communities, as cities, counties, states, nations, and as a world.
But it starts in each one of us. One By One.
Assignment for Dare 12:
Pick one aspect of the Law of Love and focus on giving that to those around you today.