I’ve been thinking a lot about charity, and discovered some really cool insights, which I want to share!
Charity is Pure
Moroni 7:47 tells us that Charity is the pure love of Christ. A pure substance is one that is free from any kind of contamination. It is only that substance, not tainted with anything else.
Later on in verse 48 Moroni encourages us to “Pray to the Father …that ye may be FILLED with this love.” Well how can our hearts be filled with charity if they are already filled with other things, like anger or other unChristlike feelings? So we must pray first that our hearts may be EMPTIED, in order to make room to be filled.
But is it enough to just empty it partway?
No. Because even if there is a little itty bit of anger, jealousy, or malice left in your heart, when the PURE love of Christ is figuratively poured into it, it is no longer pure, which means it is no longer charity. Charity cannot co-exist with uncharitable feelings, or it becomes twisted and tainted, and we become self-deceived, thinking we have attained charity when in reality we are still far from it.
Possessing Charity Makes Us Pure!
Moroni 7:48 says how we should pray for charity “with all the energy of heart . . .that we may be purified even as He [Christ] is pure.” So this clearly is saying that charity can be a cleansing agent. Having charity not only purifies our hearts, but also sanctifies our whole being.
Charity Never Faileth.
For me, this one of the most powerful statements ever made in scripture. Never is a strong word. You know those times when you feel you’re in a predicament that there is no solution to? Here Heavenly Father tells us that there is a panacea to help us succeed in ANY situation. Charity NEVER fails. Wouldn’t we all be willing to do anything to have access to a fix-anything tool at any given moment? We’d want to use it first thing, not as a last resort, because well, duh- it never fails! Of course, this doesn’t mean that having charity will magically dissolve all of life’s problems, but it will always improve the situation and help us succeed in the eternal perspective. Sounds like something worth working for.
Charity gives us 20-20 vision!
Charity helps us see clearly. We learn this in Moroni 7:48. If we have charity when the Savior comes, we are promised that “we shall see him as he is.” So in other words, if we don’t have charity, we won’t necessarily see things as they truly are. Our ability to discern truth will be skewed.
As we develop charity, it becomes a part of who we are. It purifies us, and our ability to see things as they really are becomes clearer and less tainted.
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I won’t go into details, but there was a time on my mission when I was going through a difficult time with my relationship with a particular companion. As I was praying in the midst of my stress and anguish, I felt prompted to pray for charity. Right as I did, a warm feeling came over me, as if Heavenly Father wanted me know I was praying for the right thing. Now I can honestly say that I love that companion more than ever. But looking back, as I strove to become more charitable, I learned that it doesn’t come easy. It’s a gradual process. And just when you think you have developed it, you will find that it will be tested over and over again. It’s easy to love someone from a distance. It’s easy to love someone who is always easy to love. But true charity requires genuine loving, even when it is hard to love – especially when it’s hard. And that kind of love requires a change of heart, which can only come when we yield our hearts to God.
Charity is a feeling of love, but it is also a decision to love. Charity is when you serve and are kind to someone who is not necessarily kind back to you. Charity is resisting the impulse to judge others, even when it feels justified. It is esteeming others highly, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and remembering that each person is a very precious child of Heavenly Father, just like you. It is being nice no matter what another person says or does.
I’m still working on developing charity. I still have a long way to go, but because of this and similar experiences, I feel like I’m a lot closer than I used to be. Hopefully I’ll make it by the end of this lifelong quest!
P.S. I love President Monson’s talk, “Charity Never Faileth.” If you haven’t read it yet, you should drop everything and read it now. It’s fantastic.