Prayer of Transformation – Part 6

Invite the Influence of Heavenly Ministration

After dismissing adversarial influences in preparation for prayer it is also important to actively invite and acknowledge your willingness to receive the ministration of those that are sent from the Father’s presence to bless you.

A method through which the Lord often delivers comfort, instruction, messages, and influence is through the ministration of divine agents. Often from our own family lines, many are sent to bless us and influence us from the other side of the veil.

Their ability to interact with us is tied to our awareness, sensitivity, and willingness to receive from the Lord. As we begin our prayers we can ask for the full influence of those that are sent from our Father in Heaven to bless us – and we can express an openness and the invitation to receive the ministers of these gifts.

Joseph F. Smith taught the following:

When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants… [Our] fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.[i]

The angels that are sent to us speak by the power of the Holy Ghost and we are to feast upon their words.

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.[ii]

Discovering, recording and being taught the words of Christ – the things that we shall do – is fundamental to the prayer of transformation. It will be treated in greater depth later in this series of essays.

 

[i] Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970, pp. 435–36.

[ii] 2 Nephi 32:3

Prayer of Transformation – Part 5

Dismiss the Presence of Adversarial Influence

If your experience with this principle is anything like mine, you may be shocked to realize how much the Adversary is bearing down upon us, almost constantly, and bombarding us with his influence.

Completely veiled from my mind and understanding was the profound influence adversarial spirits were having on me. Before each prayer I’ve learned to actively dismiss influences and spirits that are not sent from the Savior. This has had a profound change on my prayers.

As messengers and ministers are sent to bless us from our Father in Heaven, so are adversarial messengers, teachers, tormenters, tempters, and influencers from the Adversary. These influences constantly try to speak to us, influence our thoughts, take control over us, and tempt us to violate the light of Christ within us. Their aim is to confuse, control, and separate us from the influence of the Savior by every possible deception.

Samuel the Lamanite describes this state of being influenced by dark influences when he wrote:

Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us? And this shall be your language in those days.[i]

Some of these influences have dwelt with us for so much of our life that we cannot distinguish between the voice of the influence and our own voice. The deception born of long association with these spirits can bring us to believe deeply imbedded lies about ourselves.

In order to untie these lies and deceptions we must first learn how to completely dismiss these influences. We must become free from these before we can receive a fullness of communication and transformation from the Lord.

Heber C. Kimball described these influences in this way:

“It is written, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Some people do not believe that there are any devils. There are thousands of evil spirits that are just as ugly as evil can make them. The wicked die, and their spirits remain not far from where their tabernacles are. When I was in England, twenty-eight years ago next June, I saw more devils than there are persons here to-day; they came upon me with an intention to destroy me; they are the spirits of wicked men who, while in the flesh, were opposed to God and his purposes. I saw them with what we call the spiritual eyes, but what is in reality the natural eye. The atmosphere of many parts of these mountains is doubtless the abode of the spirits of Gadianton robbers, whose spirits are as wicked as hell, and who would kill Jesus Christ and every Apostle and righteous person that ever lived if they had the power. It is by the influence of such wicked spirits that men and women are all the time tempted to tell little lies, to steal a little, to take advantage of their neighbor a little, and they tell us there is no harm in it. It is by the influence and power of evil spirits that the minds of men are prejudiced against each other, until they are led to do  each other an injury, and sometimes to kill each other.[ii]

When Adam and Eve were introduced into the fallen world they faithfully performed sacrifices in anticipation of being visited by true messengers. As they performed sacrifices in obedience they were under the influence of the adversary who sought to teach them a false religion, to accumulate the best gifts of the Telestial kingdom, and, most of all, he taught them to fear.

When Adam and Eve finally received the true messengers the first thing they did was dismiss the Adversary and his influence. This is a pattern that must be followed when seeking to receive heavenly gifts.

Joseph Smith taught, “nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.[iii]

It is critical to ask the Lord to dismiss and relieve you of adversarial influence so the communication is pure and unrestrained. I have found that if I ask and plead for the Lord to displace all darkness with light and to have all influences removed from my presence often I feel a noticeable peace and change of environment. I will not proceed until I recognize the peace that comes from this influence being removed.

George Q. Cannon shared this remarkable insight:

“If our eyes were open to see the spirit world around us, we should feel differently on this subject than we do; we would not be so unguarded and careless, and so indifferent whether we had the spirit and power of God with us or not; but we would be continually watchful and prayerful to our heavenly Father for His Holy Spirit and His holy angels to be around about us to strengthen us to overcome every evil influence… if we could see with our spiritual senses as we now see with our natural senses, we should be greatly shocked at the sight of the influences that prompt us to disobey the counsels of God or the Spirit of the Lord in our hearts. . . . He who is imbued with the Spirit of God is sensibly aware when the evil power approaches; but he does not welcome it to his bosom; he resists it with all the might and strength God has given unto him, and he obtains power over it, and it no more troubles him; if it does, its influence is more weakened than previously.[iv]

Nephi lamented that he felt “encompassed about, because of the sins and temptations that so easily beset me.[v]” This personal spiritual struggle Nephi experienced confirms what is taught in the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants when Joseph Smith revealed:

And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision; for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ— Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.

We do not need to be constantly encompassed about. We, as Elder Cannon taught, can greatly reduce their influence if not completely dismiss them. We can pray that the power of heaven, light, love, and peace may displace the evil influence that encompasses us about. Brigham Young described our ability to dismiss these influences when he taught:

The spirits of the ancient Gadiantons are around us. You may see battle-field after battle-field, scattered over this American continent, where the wicked have slain the wicked. Their spirits are watching us continually for an opportunity to influence us to do evil, or to make us decline in the performance of our duties. And I will defy any man on earth to be more gentlemanly and bland in his manners than the master spirit of all evil. We call him the devil; a gentleman so smooth and so oily, that he can almost deceive the very elect. We have been baptized by men having the authority of the holy Priesthood of the Son of God, and consequently we have power over him which the rest of the world do not possess, and all who possess the power of the Priesthood have the power and right to rebuke those evil powers, and they obey not, it is because we do not live so as to have the power with God, which it is our privilege to have. If we do not live for this privilege and right we are under condemnation.[vi]

Dismissing the influence of the Adversary, and waiting until the peace and light that only comes from heavenly influence is crucial before moving forward in this sacred process of prayer.

 

[i] Helaman 13:37

[ii] Journal of Discourses, 11:84-85

[iii] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 205.

[iv] George Q. Cannon, in Journal of Discourses, 11:29–30.

[v] 2 Nephi 4:18

[vi] Journal of Discourses, 12:128

Prayer of Transformation – Part 4

Write Your Impressions

One of the single most important things a person can do to dramatically improve their prayers and receive heavenly communication is to write down their thoughts, impressions, and instructions while praying. Kneeling with a pen and paper in hand not only acknowledges to the Lord the sacred and serious manner in which you desire answers and enlightenment, it allows you to capture the entire communication at its freshest moment. It will maximize what the Lord has to give you, and you will come to feel the thoughts and impressions flow as you write.

I have discovered that every single time I have recorded my prayers that when I review the notes that I wrote later I do not remember receiving much of the communication. It is shocking to me personally how little I retain from my prayers. There is so much lost when we fail to write down what the Lord has to offer us.

As we go back and review a record of the impressions we have received it becomes a personal book of scripture that can be studied and reviewed for further revelation.

President Nelson taught this principle in a recent General Conference:

“Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation.’”

Elder Richard G. Scott taught this principle when he concluded an account in which he learned this principle. He shared the following insight:

I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.

What I have described is not an isolated experience. It embodies several true principles regarding communication from the Lord to His children here on earth. I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.[i]

The promptings that are recorded should be kept very sacred. I have made it a personal rule to not share my prayer notes with anyone unless specifically prompted to do so. To the degree we keep the communication private, the Lord is able to reveal more of the most sacred impressions he has for those that can be trusted with his thoughts.

Brigham Young taught, “Should you receive a vision of revelation from the Almighty, one that the Lord gave you concerning yourselves, or this people, but which you are not to reveal on account of your not being the proper person, or because it ought not to be known by the people at present, you should shut it up and seal it as close, and lock it as tight as heaven is to you, and make it as secret as the grave. The Lord has no confidence in those who reveal secrets, for He cannot safely reveal Himself to such persons….[ii]

Writing your impressions will bring great power to your prayers. It signals God that you are serious about his divine communication. As he trusts you with his revelatory teaching, he will increase your experiences and you will learn the process of being taught from the Heavens.

 

[i] Elder Scott tells shares an example of how he learned this principle of recording his prayers in an account too lengthy to include in this essay. It can be read in his talk, “To Acquire Spiritual Knowledge” October, 2009 General Conference.

[ii]  Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:288 (15 March 1857).

Prayer of Transformation – Part 3

Submit Our Time

The Prophet Joseph told me to every morning dedicate myself to God” (L. John Nuttall, Diary, August 1881).

The first step of inviting the spirit of transformation is to offer a sacrifice born of our own free will and choice. To give ourselves to the Lord without being compelled. To step towards him in the daylight.

This free-will offering can happen every morning by choosing to wake earlier than our day demands, and come to God by first submitting our time to him (and our sleep).

As much as possible, if we yield our time and commitment to the prayer it will be a first step in submitting to his process and will.

The submission of time is a setting or priorities and seeking Him first. If He is going to reveal himself according to his “own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will[i],” then we must yield our time, our ways and our will to him.

Actively choosing to give him our time will immediately invite grace. It will invite the spirit to us because we have taken initiative to humble ourselves and begin to consecrate our time. It is the first step of drawing near unto him, and so it will draw him unto us.

When we choose to submit our time – and especially our mornings – to our Father in seasons of our life that are not motivated by difficulty and trial; when we consecrate time beyond the needs of our current concerns, the spirit comes to us because we seek to draw close to him by virtue of the word and not circumstance.

This prayer of initiation and consecration is very powerful. It invites the Lord not because of necessity, but because we are even willing to offer up our comfort and ease to his will. This initiates grace.

Even if we find our self in a time of trial and great need, perhaps in a state of being compelled to be humble, we can still submit our time beyond the need to draw close to him for the need at hand.

For example, if we consecrate our time in prayer on behalf of others while we are in a time of vexing trial and need we activate the same principle of drawing close to the Lord because of the goodness of the word and not because we are being compelled.

No matter what we circumstances in which we find ourselves, the Lord provides us an opportunity to be humbled by the word.

And so, the prayer of transformation often begins with a decision: is knowing the Lord and being made in his image worth waking up 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour or two early in the morning?

When we initiate our own sacrifice of comfort and take a step towards him without being compelled, he takes 10 steps. I believe the heavens rejoice in these simple acts of coming to Christ.

And the submission of our time and comfort will prepare our hearts and invite the Lord to our presence to experience the powerful sequence of the prayer of transformation.

 

The Prayer of Transformation – Part 1

“They who think the path difficult, have not tried it. . . . All who yield . . . obedience to God’s law undergo a real transformation, by the Holy Ghost, which enables them more and more, to receive and understand spiritual messages. Unless that transformation is accomplished, a person is opaque to spiritual truth, and the ‘things of God’ are beyond his understanding. Great is the effect of such spiritual communication. . . . It transforms life.”

John A. Widstoe

 Prayer, in its most intimate form, is an endowment. It is given as a gift. And as with all great gifts from our Father in Heaven, learning to receive it is a transformative process.

Receiving the gift of prayer is premised not so much on earning the right to the gift, it is not granted upon the accumulation of good works; we receive it by learning how to be open and learning how to receive. We learn how to receive through the process of submitting our whole souls to the spirit and ministry of reconciliation. Much of this process is learning how to remove those things in us that keep us from receiving his highest blessings. We must learn how to become partakers of our Father’s heavenly gifts.

The gift of prayer is the gift of transformation. It is more than opening a line of communication, it is a process of becoming something different; it is the process of becoming something new. This type of transformational prayer comes through a process of reconciliation, yielding, and submitting.

The Father and the Son communicate with their whole being; with their mind, their heart, and the fullness of who and what they are. As we learn to pray we go through a transition of becoming something different, because we, too, have to learn to pray with our heart, our mind, and the fullness of what and who we are. We have to learn ow to pray with the wholeness of our being. Our Father in Heaven and Savior are full of truth in their hearts, their minds, and in every part of their very being. They literally are the truth. Therefore, we must apply our entire mind, heart, our entire being in a process of reconciliation to them and their “beingness” in order to fully bind to them – to become one with them. This makes the prayer of transformation a sacred prayer of intercession.

In prayer, our spirits literally become informed; in other words, in-the-form-of, or likeness, of God. We can’t come to know him and be taught by him without becoming like him. Receiving his truth not only transforms our understanding, but it also transforms our very being. It is an endeavor of the whole soul. As we do so we receive the truth as a matter of who we are and what we are. The way we feel, the way we think, the way we sense, the way we understand. We begin to see things as they are.

The need for this type of fundamental and transformative prayer comes from the condition in which we are found on this earth. We all chose to partake of a fallen nature so that we could, by our own free will and choice, learn how to partake of the divine nature. Because of our fallen natures we are filled with division. Our will and his will. Our spirit and our body. Our understanding and His understanding. Earthly cravings and Heavenly desires. Both the light and the darkness within us.

All division must be reconciled into wholeness. The darkness within us must be displaced by divine light. Our earthly cravings must be purified into the whole-hearted desire for Heavenly things.  It doesn’t work to simply profess that you desire the will of the Lord; we must become such that the impulse of our soul is to desire his will.

As Richard Foster, the great Christian theologian, wrote, “Prayer involves transformed passions. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves, to will the things He wills.”

In prayer we can become one with the Lord. We must come to embody the atonement because that which was once divided in us has become one. We must come to live in a state of at-one-ment.

Prayer is the process of submitting every aspect of who and what we are. We become like them in the process of prayer, and through the process of becoming like them we come to know them.

In the 7th chapter of Moroni verse 48 we are invited to pray with all the energy of heart. The process of learning how to do pray this way has a transformative effect on us. When we pray with all the energy of heart it provides us a conduit to become filled with the love of God, and that love flows to us without compulsory means. Through this prayer and reception of love we begin to understand our Savior and see him as he is. We can only do this because through this process we have become like him. Thus, this process of learning how to pray as he does, with our whole being, removing barriers to his love, we can become transformed as sons and daughters of God and receive his likeness.

The great questions then become, how do I learn to pray with all the energy of heart? How do I pray so that the spirit can transform me?  How do I submit in prayer to receive a mighty change? How, exactly, does my will actually change so that I fundamentally desire the will of the Lord?

These essays suggests both a principle and a pattern of prayer of how to pray with our whole beings, removing our resistance to his love, and becoming transformed through the process of prayer. The principle is that of the softened heart. It has to be deeply understood because the softened heart is the fundamental key to the entire prayer pattern. Understanding the softened heart principle and then implementing it in the prayer pattern, I believe, is a sure path to enter into mighty prayer.

Each component of the pattern was learned in a separate and sacred experience in the past twenty years of my life. It is one perspective of how we can approach our Father in Heaven, learn how to yield to his transformative grace, and become made in his image.

 

Prayer of Transformation – Part 2

Spiritual Set-Points

Prayer is a process of transformation because it is learning how to come out of darkness into light. This can be a frightening and difficult thing. This is because we have come to love darkness. It is comfortable. It is what we know and it is through the darkness that we have come to try to understand ourselves. For the most part, most people have relative success at finding a level of stability or comfort in this fallen world. It is our normal.

Of course in this world we live in a blend of light and darkness. As we yield to God and his goodness that is vested within us we become more aware of the light that is here. We desire more of it. And as we experience and yield to the fallen nature of this world and its constant pull we likewise also increase in darkness. And as we have more darkness in us we desire even more. We can easily come to love it.

The natural thing to do for all of us is to find a set point.  A place where we have just enough light to feel the pull upwards and that we are trying to become a “good person,” and have settled upon an acceptable amount of darkness that keeps us comfortable and our bearings in a fallen world.

Let me suggest an example (when in reality almost everyone on this Earth is an example). Here is mine. I love God and want to draw closer to him. I feel love for most everyone I encounter – or at least a desire to be kind to everyone. I have committed myself to a certain level of obedience to God’s commandments. I am not waking up every morning and going to the temple, but I congratulate myself on being a pretty good keeper of commandments.

I also like to watch TV. Actually, I love it. Coming home at night after a long day or working and fulfilling all of the commitments I have TV is a great outlet. I am discriminating of content in the extreme, but allow a constant stream of mid-level evil into my home that usually is on the boundary of acceptability. More than once a week I have the thought, I should probably shut this off – but usually I don’t. It is a comforting darkness. When I think about getting rid of it my heart rate goes up. I think to myself, “If I gave up TV, then I am giving up the last comfortable thing I give myself every day. What does God really expect of me??? Isn’t this life to be enjoyed? Is the point of the Gospel to have every fun and enjoyable thing to be stripped of me? This is so extreme. God does not want us to be extremists, he wants us to pace ourselves and not run faster than we have strength. He wants us to just do better each day and for now, I can fulfill that great commandment and not have to give up TV. Didn’t I already do a little better today by not eating that candy at work?”

And so the deception plays out. And usually, without a heroic leap of discipline, I give into the routine of light and darkness of my day. The result of this is I become comfortable in an acceptable environment of spiritual twilight.

What would happen if you walked into the Celestial room of the temple and on one wall there was a big screen TV playing a show with people having casual sex and putting on display the all of the enticing things of the world? We know what our gut-response would be. It would be so strikingly awful that it would make us sick. And yet, often this is allowed into the home. What this tells me, personally, is that my home is not a temple. It is a battlefront where both armies are invited and the outcome of the spiritual war has yet to be determined.

What plays out in our homes is a reflection of our own hearts. Our own inner-spiritual world. If there is disharmony within me there will be disharmony in the home.

And so we all have a spiritual set-point. We all have a place of comfort that we feel good about the improvements we are making and, and still rely on a comfortable level of darkness in this world to offset the peace and comfort that we think we need because God will not do everything for us, so we have to do it for ourselves.

Joseph Smith called spiritual set-points “stakes.” It is the point that we will come to God and still retain a comfort in darkness. Joseph Smith describes it as such:

“The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world.—Who knows it? It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes & set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty.[i]

He expands our understanding of these stakes by pointing to our traditions, which we will address later.

“To all those who are disposed to say to set up stakes for the almighty—will come short of the glory of god. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the son he must put away all his traditions”

And finally,

“The mystery power and glory of the priesthood is so great and glorious that the angels desired to understand it and cannot: why, because of the tradition of them and their fathers in setting up stakes and not coming up to the mark in their probationary state.”

This process, this, looking from the bottom up and sacrificing our love for our Telestial bearings can appear to be a dreadful thing. It is the spiritual pull of our Telestial existence that we have learned to find comfort in the darkness.

The Prayer of Transformation is the process of disrupting our spiritual set-points.

 

 

 

[i] Words of Joseph Smith, 238.

Love and Judgment

There are two gospel principles that seem to be in opposition to each other, and have caused much confusion. Confronting this doctrinal paradox will birth us into a state of understanding that will really help us become more like Christ and have the power of his love.

The issue is judgment. Countless times I have heard it preached that we should never judge. The scriptural record seems to support this when the Lord’s words recorded in Matthew are to “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

But we also have the doctrine of Moroni chapter 7 that not only teaches us how to judge, but that it is given to us to do so.

“For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night” (v. 15).

How do we reconcile these conflicting teachings?

Perhaps by making a simple distinction.

For clarity sake, let’s consider that what Mormon chapter 7 is inviting us to do is discern. Discernment is a type of judgment of recognizing light from darkness.

We are suppose to judge (discern) others. In other words, we are supposed to discern light and darkness.

So, what is unrighteous judgment? Because clearly there is great danger in judgment as well (and this is why “never judge anyone” doctrine is now such a popular thing to teach).

What is the type of judgment that we are too cease – the type that Moroni warns that to “not judge wrongfully; (because) that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged”?

I believe it is really simple. Perhaps unrighteous judgment is when we judge someone, and then withhold love because of our discernment.

When I judge someone (unrighteously) what I am really doing is withholding love.

That’s it.

Then I make a case against them. Because, since I am a spiritual being, with a divine nature, withholding love is sort of a big problem. It is to violate my nature. It is to resist the command that is imprinted on me from my beginning: I am to love and to impart to all of creation love.

When I stop doing this I must make a pretty big case. There must be at least the illusion of a reason.

And this is how a self-deception is formed. I have to absolve myself of the eternal responsibility of loving others and loving God.

How are we to judge? Most of us feel that it is completely against the spirit of the Lord to ever judge. The Lord even says “judge not, that ye man not be judged.”

The nature of what “judging” is quite simple. It is loving or not loving. Period. That’s it. That is all it is. Everything after that is a justification of extending or withholding love. But judgment, the type that we are all (hopefully) trying to rid ourselves of, and dislike when we receive from others, is really simple. It is a decision to love or not to love.

This is why all withholding of love is really just a lie. Because self-deceptions are lies. They are the lies we tell ourselves that give us justification in pitting ourselves against our eternal nature. They are the lies we tell ourselves to justify pitting ourselves against God.

God’s nature is to love us unconditionally. That could be the very definition of what makes God, God. Anyone who argues otherwise is in danger of being anti-Christ.

Why the harsh reality of challenging the eternal disposition and nature of God?

Because if you can make the eternal love of God a conditional matter, then you can accuse his Children both day and night. This is the fundamental work of the Adversary. He is the great Accuser. His judgments are an affront to God. He brings us into a state of self-deception by inviting us into judgment. By denying the love of God.

When Christ condescended and provided the great Atonement his love flowed to all of creation with the eternal invitation of redemption. Creation, in all of it’s various orders, has agency to receive the redemptive love of Christ, but that love is unconditional and eternal. Receiving that love is conditioned on the receiver, not the giver. This is why God’s love is both unconditional, but not unconditionally experienced. A critical distinction since deceivers will teach both that God’s love is not unconditional – or the variant and equally deceptive teaching that love is received by all no matter the willingness or compliance of the receiver of that love.

When we withhold love in any degree we devolve into a state of judgment. That is to say, our beings retract in hardness, darkness, and dissonance. We experience enmity. Withholding love is pitting ourselves against someone, and making them into an object worthy of lesser love. This is where the actual experience of “judgment” occurs.

In other words, judging others is a fruit of something deeper. It is a result. Something we can’t avoid. As soon as we withhold love, for whatever reason, we must enter into judgment about that person in order to justify the violation of the eternal order of love.

What is the eternal order of love? It is that it must be given without condition. It must be given to all and in its fullness.

When we withhold love from someone we are also making an eternal statement. We are declaring someone unworthy for the atonement of Christ.

Because all love flows from Christ in mercy and grace to all those that receive it. We, too, are called to be of the same order.

The way I see others is a reflection of my view of God. I can’t love him and not love his creation. I can’t worship the Redeemer without being passionate about what he redeems.

And so I have to personally face deep repentance regarding the unrighteous judgment I hold in my heart – the withholding of love.