Sam Harris – Farewell talk in the Lindon 1st Ward
Good morning everybody, My name is Sam Harris and I have been called to serve in the England Birminham mission. In an eternal perspective I now take very seriously the phrase “god save the queen” I’ve been taking the right steps to preparing to serve in England.. for example every time I play FIFA soccer on xbox I always play with England. I could not be more excited. Bishop Lloyd has asked me to speak on the atonement. I’m especially going to focus on the love aspect, and how we can learn to better love each other because of the Savior’s sacrifice and example.
A man once asked Jesus, “Which is the great commandment in the law?? Jesus replied: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. “
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” –Mother Teresa
The church is true sometimes members aren’t so much. There is nothing wrong with our church when it comes to the gospel and it’s principles. Unfortunately, no one person is perfect, and sometimes we forget that loving everyone including God, is the greatest and the first commandment.
Often times we judge people, before we really get to know a person. One the most simple verse of scripture is given by the Savior in the first verse of Mathew Chapter 7. : “ Judge not, that ye be not judged” My favorite quote about this is from Last General Conference, when President Uchtdorf said, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” When we see people who maybe aren’t living the commandments exactly like they should, or who are struggling with a testimony we need to listen to President Monson when he says:
“We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions…And they can serve the Lord diligently.”
The best thing we can do to help this happen is to love everyone. I know it sounds like a hard thing to do, but it’s absolutely true.
Mosiah 7:27 reminds us that we are made in God’s image. I know my talk is mainly about loving others the way the Savior loved us, but it is also important to love ourselves. I know you might go to school, or work, or wherever you go, and see people who in your opinion have it better, or are more attractive, or smarter. Etc. God made you in his image so that you can be like him. When I think of that my self-confidence goes through the roof and it makes me want to raise others up.
From President Monson’s talk in the previous priesthood session: “seeing others as they may become” he states:
Sometimes letting our peers know they are needed and valued can help them take that step into commitment and full activity. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to live as they should. We can help them to overcome their shortcomings” We should develop the capacity to see men not as they are but as they can become when they are members of the Church, when they have a testimony of the gospel, and when their lives are in harmony with its teachings.” The only way for us to do this is by unconditional love.
Ultimately, we can become gods when we are completely converted to the gospel. I don’t know about you guys, but I think that is pretty rad! That is one of the reasons why I am so excited to serve a mission is so I can see what people can become through love and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have felt the power of the atonement in my life, and understand how amazing it is, and how awesome it makes me feel when I know that I am 100% forgiven for my transgressions. And so I want everyone else to feel the same way. Sincere repentance works, thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Savior was a perfect example of how to do all of the things I have mentioned previously. And he was the only one capable of performing the atonement.
The Savior was the only one capable of performing the atonement because God the Father is the father of his body and his spirit. And it had to be a willing, infinite atonement, and though Jesus Christ had power over death, he chose to sacrifice for us. That is love – that is charity.
The times my testimony has been strengthened the most have been when I have felt God’s love through the power of the atonement and repentance and forgiveness.
There was a period of time in my life when I was not temple worthy. I was really struggling with my testimony, because I was not allowing the atonement’s power into my life. It became time for the pioneer trek. I really didn’t want to go…
Right after the trek I realized God’s love in my life. I seriously repented of the different things in my life that needed to be cleared up, and I felt a most unbelievable spirit.
“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.” ― ElderJeffrey R. Holland
“To you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, we call out "Jehovah's unrelenting refrain, "My hand is stretched out still". "...His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears".” ― Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
No matter how lost you think you may be with your testimony, or with sin, God loves each and every one of us so much. I know there is no better feeling for me, then when I feel God’s love in my life…
I challenge each of you who feel like your life has gone in a different direction then what you would imagined, or have expected, that you turn to our God and our Savior. The Savior is the only person who understands exactly what you are going through because he went through the exact same trials for you many years ago in Gethsemane. Because he loves each of you so much, he will be so excited when you decide to accept God’s love, and when you decide to repent and become more like him.
I’d like to thank my awesome brothers and sisters here with me today, Josh, Michael and Megan. You have each been amazing examples to me growing up and I appreciate you so much!!
Dad- We have grown a lot closer these last few months. Thank you so much for being so knowledgeable in the gospel so that whenever I have questions I need answered you can always be there for me. I am so grateful that you are a strong priesthood holder and how that affects my life and our entire family.