PASTOR COLUMNS - Cherishing family relationships key to happiness

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Most in this community are blessed with a place they call home. We carry keys that open doors to our homes. When we use the key to our home and enter, we find protection from the weather. We also find conveniences such as kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, entertainment and a place to rest. Each day we have the option to choose whether to use that key.

As an alternative, we could sleep outside or in our cars, or perhaps in a tent or on a vacant lot. Such a choice would seem unthinkable and foolish.

There is a key to finding happiness. The benefits of using this key are not as immediately obvious. Nor is such a key as easy to use. Those who elect to use this key consistently throughout their lives have a conviction that not using such key would be unthinkable and foolish. Such is the nature of the key to happiness in life.

The key is to create, preserve, improve and cherish family relationships so far as that opportunity is given us. At the foundation of every happy family are a husband and a wife who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Young people, who delay sexual relations until after they are married, learn to practice patience, loyalty, respect and self-control. These qualities aid them in a quest to be fully committed to the mother or father of their children.

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.

After marriage, some are fortunate to find that at least one spouse is unselfish. And such marriages often succeed. However, those who are part of a marriage in which both husband and wife are unselfish, find themselves in a blissful state of happiness. This unselfishness often projects itself through the generations that follow. However, for most of us, learning to be unselfish requires strong personal desire and commitment. It is a quality acquired only through a willingness to constantly identify where we fall short and practice improvement.

"Children are an heritage of the Lord." Psalm 127:3 When we are blessed with children, we are automatically enrolled in the school of unselfishness and patience. There are high rewards for high marks. Children are best taught to love themselves and others through the example of parents who love and serve each other and their children.

Let us take care so we don't find ourselves in the regretful position of Ebenezer Scrooge. He was shown the shadow of the person that he had been in years past, a young man who let his zeal for earning take priority over the love of his life. Looking back in agony he cried out at himself, "You fool!, you fool!, you let her go!"

There is no substitute for giving our time to those who matter most to us. When we combine the gift of our time, with our best efforts to be kind, unselfish and loving to our family members; we use the very key that opens the door to our highest potential for true happiness.

Bishop John Rowley serves the Walla Walla 2nd Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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