Latter-day Saint Life

5 game-changing realizations from Steve Young’s new book

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There’s a subtle but profound difference between seeking to heal others and trying to fix them.
Getty Images.

Steve Young is a two-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

But as someone who’s watched maybe three football games in her life, I’m a fan of Steve Young for a different reason. I recently finished his book The Law of Love in Action and was more than a little surprised at how much I loved it. Why? Because it was so applicable to my everyday interactions with others.

Steve helped clear up some misconceptions I had about relationships. He also encouraged me to find new ways to look at gospel principles related to love. Here are five of my favorite ideas from the book.

1. The Difference between Healing and Fixing 

As you may guess from the title, Steve’s book revolves around the idea of what he calls “the law of love.” He defines this law as “loving as God loves, seeking another’s healing, expecting nothing in return.”

The phrasing of that is important—we seek another’s healing. But we ourselves shouldn’t feel pressure to do the actual healing. Here’s what Steve says:

“There’s a [subtle but profound] difference between seeking to heal others and trying to fix them. Both may come from the same motivation—trying to help out someone else—but it’s totally opposite energy.

Fixing means that I decide what someone’s problem is, figure out the solution, and implement the solution to make them better, according to me. It puts me in the driver’s seat of their life, which is not where I belong at all. It assumes that they are accountable to me, which is totally not true. Fixing is self-limiting.

“On the other hand, healing is God removing the pain of their wound. A healer asks the question, ‘What can I do to help you in your journey?’ God has a plan for them, and the accountability remains between that person and God, as it always was. I don’t have to condemn or condone, judge or evaluate—none of that is where I belong in their life. I am just there to love them and be a conduit for God’s healing power.”

So instead of thinking something like, “I need to fix or save this person,” my mindset can be, “What can I do to help them in their journey?”

2. I Don’t Love Others onto My Path—I Just Love 

This idea is a game-changer. I’ll let Steve explain:

“Other people have to figure out their path, with God’s help, just as I have to figure out my own. It’s about loving people on their own path—not loving them onto our path. We simply can’t know their path, nor can we ever know what’s right for them. It just isn’t possible.”

How freeing! My job is just to love. Because I can’t figure out someone else’s path for them, I offer my love to people without trying to control outcomes or even expecting certain outcomes. I show love, show it again, and leave the rest to God.

▶ You may also like: Does your missionary struggle to feel successful? This idea in Steve Young’s new book will help

3. What Forgiveness Doesn’t Do 

Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful concepts in the world—and sometimes a misunderstood one. I appreciated something Steve said about what forgiveness doesn’t do: remove accountability. He writes:

“People often ask me, ‘Well, Steve, it sounds great to love everyone, but where’s the accountability? What about justice? We just love and forgive everyone and they get away with anything?’

“Hold up. Forgiveness is not about lack of accountability. If someone has done something wrong, they still have to face the consequences of their actions. They still have to answer for that abuse or that mistake in the eyes of the courts or in the eyes of God or both. They still have to repair the damage they’ve done. Not an inch of it is lost—neither accountability nor justice. Neither is affected by your forgiveness.”

He then goes on to say that people are not accountable to us in the first place. That accountability belongs to Christ. I find this truth comforting because Christ will be both perfectly merciful and perfectly just. I can trust Him to make everything right in the end, both for me and the people around me.

4. Holy Relief 

Throughout the book, Steve shares moving stories about love from various individuals. A parent used the term “holy relief” in one of these examples. I found the idea so beautiful. Here’s the context:

“One of my children as a teenager developed disordered eating habits that were physically taking a toll. I prayed and prayed for wisdom but felt only helplessness. One night as I prayed, I heard God saying, as clearly as if they were words spoken directly into my ear: ‘I have known and loved them even longer than you have. You are not alone. And neither is your child.’

“That was a stunning and holy relief. Partnering with God in knowing and loving my child—without removing their freedom to choose—strengthened not just my ‘feeble knees’ but the rest of me too” (emphasis added).

We often talk about finding relief in life. Relief from sore muscles or a headache, for example. But the relief offered by God is different; it’s holy. I’ve felt that divine comfort in my life and am grateful to now have words to frame it and share it to others.

5. The “Salve” in Salvation 

Steve shared a quote from author Jordan Harrell that shifted my perspective of the plan of salvation:

“The root word of salvation is ‘salve,’ as in ‘healing balm.’ When we discuss salvation, we often see it as a one-dimensional ‘saving’ from hell. But the root word shows us that more than ‘saving’ it’s about ‘SALVING’—about pursuing our own healing, about allowing God’s grace to breathe into our wounds and traumas—so that we might be dispensers of healing to those around us.”

Don’t you love that imagery? “Allowing God’s grace to breathe into our wounds and traumas.” That makes my own participation in the plan of salvation—whether through outward actions like missionary work or internal actions like repentance—feel richer and deeper. I am going about the work of healing, for myself and others.

There are so many more light-bulb moments to discover in The Law of Love in Action. Find it at deseretbook.com or at any Deseret Book store.

▶ You may also like: Join the easiest book club studying The Law of Love in Action


Law of Love in Action

The law of love: loving as God loves, seeking another’s healing, expecting nothing in return. It’s a lot to ask. How can we apply such a law to life’s challenges—from the smallest daily offenses to seemingly insurmountable sources of pain, like abuse, infidelity, or war? Building on his best-selling book The Law of Love, Steve Young explores the depth and breadth of how others practice living the law of love. This volume brings together a wide variety of insights and firsthand experiences. Stories include a grandpa at a family reunion, a journalist visiting a prison before a big football game, a father with a temper, a bride diagnosed with terminal cancer the day before her wedding, a broadcaster comforting survivors at a crime scene, and more. In every situation of life, the law of love is undefeated. Available at deseretbook.com and Deseret Book stores.

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