Sometimes we may be tempted to look at the commandments God has given us as restrictions or even as punishments. In reality, they are given to us as a protection that keeps us safe and because God loves us.
Parents give their children rules because they love them and want them to be safe not because parents are trying to punish their children or keep them from doing seemingly fun activities.
"We can choose to see commandments as limitations. We may feel at times that God's laws restrict our personal freedom, take from us our agency and limit our growth. But as we seek for greater understanding, as we allow our Father to teach us, we will begin to see that His laws are a manifestation of His love for us and obedience to His laws is an expression of our love for Him," said Carole Stephens, leader of a worldwide women's religious organization.
God gave us commandments because he loves us
When you love someone, you protect them and want them to be happy. It's the same with God. He gives us commandments to keep us safe. He knows that if we follow the commandments, we will find true, lasting happiness. Often, bad choices-like breaking commandments-bring about sorrow. Even if we do make a wrong choice or struggle to keep certain commandments, God still loves us. He wants us to ask him for help to keep his commandments. He wants us to come to him and repent when we make a mistake. God gave us commandments so we can learn to be more like him because he loves us.
We show our love to God by obeying his commandments
In John 14:15 (KJV, Bible) it states, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." In that verse, God asks us to keep his commandments to show our love for him. Think of other people whom you have loved. Do you try to emulate them? Do you look to them for an example? Do you do things to show your love for them? If we truly love God, we will strive to be like him, which starts with keeping the commandments he has lovingly given us. We become more like God as we do the things he would have us do.
Use the atonement to repent
God wants us to think and make decisions with our own agency. Sometimes that means we will commit sin and need to repent. God gave us commandments, but he also provided a way for us to right our wrongs and start over. The atonement is another act of love from God, and using the atonement to repent is showing our love and appreciation for that gift. Making mistakes is part of life; it is a time to learn, grow and make positive changes in our lives. As we do this, we will come to understand the commandments and atonement better, and our love for God will grow.
God loves us, so he gave us commandments and the atonement to help protect us and help us be happy. We show our love and appreciation for these gifts through obedience and repentance. Keeping the commandments brings us safety, peace and happiness.