Living & Growing: Learning to Love Everyone

This can be the tricky part.

Jacqueline F. Tupou

Jacqueline F. Tupou

A black, shirtless man wielding a knife is running around the streets in Daytona County. The police are called. Two officers show up and he runs toward them with a knife. The officers have seconds to decide what to do. Should they shoot him? One of the officers makes the decision to tase him. In the body camera footage, you can see many things that they did well that helped them make the decision to use less than deadly force.

However, one thing sticks out in the footage. One of the officers calls the man by name: Derrick. He knows Derrick. Derrick is a person to him. Derrick is not just a scary, mentally ill black man with a knife; he is a fellow human being with hopes and dreams, a nice guy who had stopped taking his medications and was trying to get the police to shoot him, so he could show them he was bulletproof. A couple weeks later the officer is out in the neighborhood and Derrick, back on his medicines and doing well, smiles and waves at him. Once we get to know people it is hard to dehumanize them and our interactions with them improve.

The Savior asked us to love our neighbors, not just those whose homes happen to be physically next to ours, but all our fellow mankind; people who look, think and act differently from ourselves. This can be the tricky part. It can be easy to love those who share the same views as ourselves. We commonly associate with people that are like ourselves in religion, politics, ethnic backgrounds or other categories that we often use to differentiate us and them. “We” worship this way and “they” another, “we” think this way and “they” another, “we” vote this way and “they” another, “we” are from this area of the world and “they” another, “we” have this color skin and “they” another. If Jesus asked us to love everyone, how do we get past the things that are not the same?

During the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this previous weekend, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said the following, “The love Jesus spoke about, however, isn’t a gift-card, throwaway, move-on-to-other-things love. It isn’t a love that is spoken of and then forgotten. It is not a “let me know if there is anything I can do” sort of love. The love God speaks of is the kind that enters our hearts when we awake in the morning, stays with us throughout the day, and swells in our hearts as we give voice to our prayers of gratitude at evening’s end. This is the inexpressible love Heavenly Father has for us. It is this endless compassion that allows us to more clearly see others for who they are. Through the lens of pure love, we see immortal beings of infinite potential and worth and beloved sons and daughters of Almighty God. Once we see through that lens, we cannot discount, disregard, or discriminate against anyone.”

What can we do to see others as the Savior sees them and love them as He does? Elder Uchtdorf gave us this counsel, “Believing God leads to faith in Him and developing trust in His word. Faith causes our hearts to grow in our love for God and others. As that love grows, we are inspired to emulate the Savior as we continue our own great journey on the path of discipleship. For some, the act of believing is difficult. Sometimes our pride gets in the way. Perhaps we think that because we are intelligent, educated or experienced, we simply cannot believe in God and we begin to look at religion as foolish tradition. In my experience, belief is not so much like a painting we look at and admire and about which we discuss and theorize. It is more like a plow that we take into the fields and, by the sweat of our brow, create furrows in the earth that accept seeds and bear fruit that shall remain.”

Elder Uchtdorf extended this invitation, “Come, help us build and strengthen a culture of healing, kindness and mercy toward all of God’s children.”


• Jacqueline Tupou is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.


More in Neighbors

Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Courtesy photo)
Living and growing: A word for your year

I recently read an article by Emily Linder who wrote an article… Continue reading

Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)
Living and Growing: The passion of Christ

As an admitted word geek I often find the origin of English… Continue reading

A warm blanket offers warm wishes at the author’s home. (Photo by Peggy McKee Barnhill)
Gimme a Smile: Have blanket, will travel

Like Linus in the “Peanuts” comic strip I love my blanket. I… Continue reading

Finished chocolate apricot bars just out of the oven. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Decadent chocolate apricot bars

I love apricots. I prefer fresh to dried, but I am happy… Continue reading

Fred La Plante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Courtesy / Fred La Plante)
Living and Growing: The Christian season of Lent

This week began the Christian celebration of Lent. Lent is typically a… Continue reading

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform for members of the Alaska Legislature and other attendees at an event Feb. 6 at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo by Emily Ferry)
Neighbors: Juneau Alaska Music Matters program receives state and national awards

For over 20 years Lorrie Heagy has been leading arts education integration… Continue reading

An image from the cover of the book “Sah Quah.” (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: SHI publishes book on slavery in Alaska that endured after federal abolishment

Book explores Haida man’s quest for freedom that ended slavery in Alaska

Joslyn Unger’s winning submission to the 2023 Alaska Fish Heritage Award, part of the Wildlife Forever Fish Art Contest. (Courtesy U.S. Forest Service)
Neighbors briefs

Alaska Fish Heritage Contest seeking entries from young artists Alaska Fish Heritage… Continue reading

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: How well have you loved lately?

Patient: Waiting without getting irritated in the car, waiting for family to… Continue reading

Participants perform in the 2023 Juneau’s Got Talent competition. (Juneau Dance Theater photo)
Neighbors briefs

11 acts scheduled to perform Saturday in 7th annual Juneau’s Got Talent… Continue reading

Pouring sauce over finished rockfish. (Photo by Patricia Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Alaska Rockfish for dinner

The halibut and salmon being sold right now are superb, delicious fish.… Continue reading