Thursday, June 9, 2011

What is Charity?

I have often times wondered what is Charity? I have studied and studied it but I still do not understand. I may understand it one day.
"What is charity? The prophet Mormon teaches us that “charity is the pure love of Christ.” In his farewell message to the Lamanites, Moroni declared, “Except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God.” 

I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient. I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others. Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.

Charity, that pure love of Christ, is manifest when a group of young women from a singles ward travels hundreds of miles to attend the funeral services for the mother of one of their Relief Society sisters. Charity is shown when devoted visiting teachers return month after month, year after year to the same uninterested, somewhat critical sister. It is evident when an elderly widow is remembered and taken to ward functions and to Relief Society activities. It is felt when the sister sitting alone in Relief Society receives the invitation, “Come—sit by us.”
In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do ourbest to help out.
Charity has been defined as “the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love,” the “pure love of Christ … ; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with [her].” (President Thomas S. Monson, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
As it states here in Moroni 7:47, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." 
How much does your Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ really love us? Their love is infinite, there is no expression for how much He truly does love us. 

Defining Charity

"The Lord said that charity is “the pure love of Christ,” that which is “most joyous to the soul,” “the greatest of all the gifts of God,” “perfect” and “everlasting.” 
As difficult as charity is to describe, it is rather easily recognized in the lives of those who possess it.
    An aged, crippled grandmother who subscribes to an afternoon newspaper, knowing it will bring her delivery-boy grandson to her home every day where, at her knee, she teaches him to pray.
    A mother who, in hard economic times and scarcity of meat, seems to savor only chicken wings, to the puzzlement of all.
    A man who suffers an undeserved public chastisement, but humbly receives it anyway.
Is not the common thread in these examples charity, a selflessness, a not seeking for anything in return? All of our divine attributes seem to flow from and be encompassed by this one.  All men may have the gift of love, but charity is bestowed only upon those who are true followers of Christ. 
The very power of God is found in His attributes of godliness.  The power of the priesthood is maintained by these attributes.  We seek these attributes, especially charity, the pure love of Christ.

Recognizing, Receiving, and Conveying God’s Love

How, then, can we better “clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity … of perfectness and peace”? May I share with you three suggestions.
1. Recognize His love. “Pray … with all the energy of heart” for this gift. Do so in meekness with a broken heart, and you will be filled with hope and love from the Holy Ghost Himself. He will reveal Christ to you.
It is part of the gift of charity to be able to recognize the Lord’s hand and feel His love in all that surrounds us. At times it will not be easy to discover the Lord’s love for us in all that we experience, because He is a perfect, anonymous giver. You will search all your life to uncover His hand and the gifts He has bestowed upon you because of His intimate, modest, humble way of granting such wonderful gifts.
Ponder with me a moment the following majestic gifts: the glories of all creation, the earth, the heavens; your feelings of love and joy; His responses of mercy, forgiveness, and innumerable answers to prayer; the gift of loved ones; and finally the greatest gift of all—the Father’s gift of His atoning Son, the perfect one in charity, even the God of love.
2. Receive His love in humility. Be grateful for the gift and especially for the giver of the gift. True gratitude is the ability to humbly see, feel, and even receive love. Gratitude is a form of returning love to God. Recognize His hand, tell Him so, express your love to Him. As you come to truly know the Lord, you will find an intimate, sacred relationship built on trust. You will come to know He understands your anguish and will, in compassion, always respond to you in love.
Receive it. Feel it. It is not enough just to know that God loves you. The gift is to be felt continually day by day. It will then be a divine motivator throughout your life. Repent. Remove any worldliness from your life, including anger. Receive a continual remission of your sins, and you will bridle all your passions and be filled with love.
3. Convey His love. The Lord’s response to us is always filled with love. Should not our response to Him be in kind, with real feelings of love? He gives grace (or goodness) for grace, attribute for attribute. As our obedience increases, we receive more grace (or goodness) for the grace we return to Him. Offer Him the refinement of your attributes, so that when He does appear you will be like Him.
As a man first immerses his thoughts in love and conveys those feelings to God, man, or self, a magnified portion of that attribute will surely follow from the Spirit. That is true of all godly attributes. Righteous feelings generated by a man seem to precede the increase of those feelings from the Spirit. Unless you are feeling love, you cannot convey true love to others. The Lord has told us to love one another as He loves us, so remember: to be loved, truly love." ( Charity: Perfect and Everlasting Love, GENE R. COOK, OF THE FIRST QUORUM OF THE SEVENTY)
I know that God is filled with this Love! I know that we can to be filled with this love. I know that there is nothing that can prevent us from having this love if we so desire it. I know God is willing to give us this love. God Bless All
REMEMBER God's promise
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

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