“The family is the laboratory for love”

art by Caitlin Connolly

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” holds up a beautiful, important standard. And it is important to realize, no family perfectly measures up to the standard.

Let’s look at the scriptures for examples:

Rebecca worked with her son, Jacob, to deceive her husband into giving Jacob the birthright instead of Esau. Jacob then ran away in fear for his life.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.

Laman and Lemuel tried to kill their father and brother.

Absalom tried to overthrow his father, David. (2 Sam 15-18)

Families are messy. 

And yet.

Despite the heartache that Absalom caused David, when David learned that Absalom had died in battle, he wept.

Lehi, with his dying breaths, blessed Laman and Lemuel and pled with them to awake and put on the armor of righteousness—never giving up on them (2 Ne 1:23)

When Joseph’s brothers fell before him and offered to be his slaves, Joseph wept and forgave them and provided for them (Gen 50:15-21)

When Jacob returned to the land of his father, Esau ran to him, wept, and 

embraced him.

Families are full of of the ups and downs of imperfect people, imperfectly loving.

As President Nelson said, “Home is the laboratory of love.”

A laboratory. A place full of both discovery and disappointments, trial(s) and error(s).

There is a reason that repentance and forgiveness are two of the nine principles that families are maintained upon. We need them. We need Him.

As Elder Uchtdorf said, “Whatever problems your family is facing […] the beginning and the end of the solution is charity […]. Without this love, even seemingly perfect families struggle. With it, even families with great problems will succeed.”

Charity. That is the key. That’s the binding glue that sticks us together, making the family the ideal setting for the un-ideal scenes of life.

Through it, we learn to look down on ourselves less and look up to Christ more.

We cannot reach the standard alone. We may not reach it in this life. But Christ can make up the difference.

He is with our family—

In the broken.

In the joy.

In the chaos.

In the midnight prayers.

In the “I’m sorry”s.

In the sacred moments of growth.

He is there.

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