God is 100% Perfect
It can be easy to look at our lives and think that God doesn’t love us. It can be easy to look at the world—at the wars, abuse, murders, sin, and depravity—and believe that God doesn’t care about His creations any more, or even that there must be no God at all. However, this is patently false. There is a God, and He is our Heavenly Father. He is a perfect being. Perfect. His love is perfect, no exceptions. He never messes up, never makes a no-good anything, never ceases to love.
Scriptures Testify of God’s Love
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called the Mormon Church, we believe in and love the Bible. The Bible is full of scriptures that testify of God’s love for us, and recount what God has done because He loves us. John 3:16 states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I’ve read past this verse so many times, but when I really stop to think about it, that’s pretty amazing. God, our Heavenly Father, loved the world (us) so much that He gave Jesus Christ to be our Savior. God loves us so much, and cares about us so much, that He wants us to return to Him.
Paul was also convinced of God’s love for us. He wrote to the Romans:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39, emphasis added).
No other person, power, government, law, or even angels can separate us from the love of God and the love of Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, also testifies of God’s love for us. Lehi, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, told his sons: “The Lord hath redeemed my soul . . . and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15). God, our Heavenly Father, loves us. We are His children, and He cares about us.
I know that God loves us. However, I can easily see where I could get confused, hung up, or have questions. For example: If God loves us, then why is life hard? Why do I have challenges? If God’s love is perfect, then how come I can’t feel it all the time? How can God love people who do wicked and awful things? As surely as others have asked these questions, I have asked them too, and come back to the same conclusion that God loves all of us.
Agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is one of the greatest gifts we have. Each and every person on earth has agency, and can act for him or herself. God will never get in the way of our agency, or the agency of others. He wants us to choose correctly, but won’t force us. One reason why sometimes we feel pain or have challenges is because of our own agency or the agency of others. Heavenly Father will not prevent us or others from exercising their agency to make wrong choices. This does not mean that God doesn’t love us.
Sometimes, though, a challenge arises just because. No one’s agency caused the trial—it just happened. Don’t worry: Heavenly Father still loves us and knows our needs. Elder Hugh B. Brown, an apostle and leader of The Church of Jesus Christ, related a parable about a currant bush and the Lord’s will. He realized that as he, the gardener, pruned the currant bush to become a proper, fruit-bearing currant bush, he was hurting the bush. But he had a vision for the currant bush, and knew that pruning was part of the process. Elder Brown compared pruning the currant bush to our trials. Heavenly Father is the gardener, and knows what each of us can become. He knows what we need to experience in order to reach that potential, and sometimes pruning is part of the process. Because He loves us, sometimes He gives us trials, so that we can grow and change and become the person He knows we can become.
God is a Loving Parent
When I was learning to ride a bike, my dad helped me learn to balance on two wheels. He would run behind me, holding the seat to keep me from falling. As we practiced, I wobbled less and gained confidence. Eventually, he let me ride by myself. And I fell down. Did this mean my dad didn’t love me, because he let me fall? No. It meant he wanted me to learn to do it myself. He encouraged me to get up and try again, so I did, this time going a bit farther before falling down again. We repeated the process until I could ride confidently, without falling down.
Heavenly Father is similar to this. He helps us along, giving us parents and teachers to guide us. He has also given us scriptures, living prophets, friends, and Church leaders to help us. But He doesn’t want to shelter us from life. He wants us to experience the world, to grow and change. So sometimes He lets us fall down. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us; it means He wants us to use our agency, use what we’ve learned about Him, and become a better person.
How Can I Feel God’s Love?
Paul said that no other person or power can separate us from the love of God. I know this is true. However, I also know that sometimes we can separate ourselves from the love of God. Heavenly Father always is the same, always constant. But sometimes we make mistakes, and sin. When this happens, we move further away from God. God hasn’t moved—He is constant. We have moved away from Him. We need to turn to Him, prayerfully, humbly, and repent. He wants us to repent and come to Him, and when we do this we will feel His love.
Again, this doesn’t mean that God stopped loving us because we sinned. He still loves us even when we’ve messed up. It’s because He loves us that He wants us, beckons us, to return to Him. As soon as we even start to turn to God, He will reach out to us, and we can feel His love. We don’t have to be perfect to feel God’s love. We just have to be trying. We can pray to Heavenly Father, and we can feel His perfect love.
To learn more about God’s love and plan for each of us, please see these talks:
“As Many As I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten”
This is a Mormon Message based on Elder Brown’s talk, which I referenced.