clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kristine Frederickson: Learning to see others as God sees them

From 1969-1971, my brother, Bruce, served an LDS mission in West Germany before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In West Berlin, he looked over the Berlin Wall — a stretch of concrete walls, barbed-wire barricades and towers manned by East German soldiers who shot to kill anyone trying to escape the hideous oppression, cruelty and coercion that inevitably manifests itself under Marxist/Communist governments.

I suspect he often peered at those drab, crumbling buildings, pot-holed streets and decrepit cars, wishing he could show God’s love to gray, faceless, despondent East Germans terrorized by an uncaring government, if they dared exhibit even a spark of interest in liberty, freedom or the gospel of Jesus Christ.

After tirelessly serving two years to introduce a people he came to love to Christ’s love — although baptisms cannot possibly quantify the results of any mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — he counted two baptisms. These many years later, some missionaries come home having participated in no baptisms.

Such seemingly dim results, however, answer a compelling question: What does one single, solitary individual mean to God, among the billions who have populated the earth?


If God sends missionaries to devote up to two years = 24 months = 730 days = 17,520 hours = 1,051,200 minutes — of their precious lives serving and working to help perhaps only one person feel Christ’s love through them, then indeed, God loves each of his children.

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described the prophet Enoch being shown in vision in "The Atonement and the Value of a Soul" (general conference, April 2004): "'the nations of the earth' (Moses 7:23). And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world (Moses 7:67)'. … Enoch saw that Satan 'had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he (Satan) looked up and laughed' (Moses 7:26). With all that Enoch beheld, there was one thing seemed to capture his attention above everything else. Enoch saw God look 'upon the residue of the people, and he wept' (Moses 7:28). The sacred record then has Enoch asking God over and over: 'How is it that thou canst weep? … How is it thou canst weep?' (Moses 7:29, 31).

"The Lord answered Enoch: 'Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands … unto thy brethren have I … also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood'” (Moses 7:32–33).

The depth and expanse of our Heavenly Father’s love for each of his children is breathtaking — virtually incomprehensible to contemplate. His love for his children leads him to admonish his followers, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).

Compellingly these verses, while reminding disciples to bear testimony of Jesus Christ, also offer a solution to many of the problems that afflict today’s world. A simple Mormon Channel message titled "Seeing Others through God's Eyes" describes our duty to love others rather than look at them through our own selfish eyes and judge them and their acts based on how they personally affect us:

"You see a guy in a nice sports car that just cut you off and think what a rich jerk who thinks his life and where he needs to go is more important than mine.

"What do you think God sees? … God saw a man who loves his wife so much and is rushing to the hospital to be with her before their baby is born, and even though he cut you off, He still loves him. Or what about that girl … who started that mean rumor about you? God loves her too.

"God sees each of us through eyes of unconditional love, and He loves everyone — it doesn’t matter what they do, where they work, how much money they have, how educated they are or what they look like."

The article offers these suggestions to do so:

• "Study the life of Christ, … his life, teachings and testimonies in the scriptures.

• "Pray daily, … ask God to help you start seeing people as he sees them.

• "Show more compassion, strive to be kinder, more loving and more forgiving.

• "Don’t focus on outward appearance, … 'The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7). God focuses on the inward … (on)people’s hearts, and their heartaches and pains."

Heavenly Father loves all his children. He always looks for the good in others. As we strive to do the same, our intemperate passions will be more easily restrained, our respect for and treatment of others will improve, and a more loving, caring world will inevitably result.