"Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal."
– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Joseph Smith once called language a "little, narrow prison ... of paper, pen, and ink". Perhaps he said so because language struggles to describe some of the most important, breathtaking experiences of our lives. Or maybe it was because one word can mean so many different things to different people. Whatever the reason, it is certain that, as both Peter and Alma warn, men frequently twist the meaning of words used in scripture to call good evil and evil good. The word "love", and the statements frequently used to describe it, is often a casualty of such wresting.
What does it mean to love someone? In modern times, people frequently use the word to mean a deep feeling of affection they feel toward someone. That is not what the Lord means.
When Christ tells us that the second great commandment is to "love thy neighbor as thyself" he does not mean that we should merely have a feeling of deep affection for everyone, though that is an end result of love. Love is much more than that. Verses where the scriptures describe God's love frequently use the word "charity".
Charity, in the scriptures, does not mean donations to help the poor. The word is instead used to refer to the kind of love that God has for each one of us and that we should have for each other. Moroni says:
And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
– Moroni 7:47
Those who truly love another do not easily get angry, are not proud, and are not self-absorbed. They are patient, kind, longsuffering, endure many things, and hope for the person they love. They do not constantly seek to point out flaws and weaknesses, though they do not ignore them (see D&C 121:43). Importantly, they do not leave truth out of love. They place the prase "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth" on equal footing with all the rest. Disciples of Christ strive to practice this love toward everyone.
When people clamour that "love is love" and that God therefore accepts and praises any consensual actions between adults, they ignore truth and a crucial piece of God's love.
Christ calls us to follow him, and to love our neighbor with patience, kindness, and longsuffering. He does not ask us to pretend that sin is not sin.
God gives us commandments because he loves us and wants the best for us. His commandments are a gift to us - a rod of iron leading us to safety and true, everlasting joy.
If we truly love someone else, we will not tell them that sin is not sin. We instead teach them the truth of God's law. We teach and live truth because doing otherwise will lead them and us away from the everlasting happiness and joy God wants us to have.
To love our neighbor means to encourage them and support them, in every way we can, to live God's laws.