The Savior Himself has declared that if we wish to be recognized as His disciples we must have a love of our fellow man. If that is what He desires for us, what is this love and how do we obtain it?
It is feeling the love the Savior has for each of us and returning those feelings of love, or charity, to everyone around us. Yes, everyone.
Moroni 7:47 describes charity as the pure love of Christ. It was this love, this power that held Him to the cross, which gave Him the ability to submit to the will of the Father and atone for all our sins. Developing this type of love in our own lives is a tall order and a life long project.
The first step remains being able to recognize the great love of the Savior for you as an individual. Through this recognition comes the ability to accept others as He would. Then comes the ability to reach out to them in love as He would. As this love fills our lives we desire to share it with others, to strengthen and build up our fellow man. We become kinder, gentler, more forgiving and peaceable. We lose our desire for sin and worldly pursuits. We look to the Father with full hearts and full purpose, ready to serve as He would have us touch the lives of others around us. Charity has the power to change the world.
1 Corinthians 13 outlines the entire concept of charity in this way.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity
During the coming weeks I’ll look more closely at the gift of charity as it is outlined in these verses. I’ll examine ways we can invite this gift into our every day lives. Charity involves molding ourselves to reflect Christ more and more each day. Charity can seem a huge and overwhelming task; yet, the Lord has commanded that if we would be His, we would be filled with charity. Join me as I explore the gift of charity.