Hello Blog friends! Many of you know that i am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as Mormons. In our church rather than have a pastor speak every Sunday, members of the congregation are asked to speak in church, everyone gets the opportunity at some point or another and multiple times at that. Last Sunday i was asked to speak on Charity, a few years ago i spoke on facing adversity with an eternal perspective you can view that talk HERE. If you have questions feel free to email me or visit mormon.org
Charity, The Pure Love of Christ
In Matthew 22:35-40 it says: Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question,tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Today I hope to inspire you to more diligently live this commandment to love your neighbor, and to find areas in your own life where you can change and show more love.
President Hinckley said “This principle of love is the basic essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without love of God and love of neighbor there is little else to commend the gospel to us as a way of life.” 1
The bible dictionary says that Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul. 2
I'd like to share 3 different areas of our lives where if we choose charity over other things our lives will be dramatically improved.
The first is our thoughts.
President Monson shared this story with the sisters in a RS general broadcast:
A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.Do we let our thoughts get caught up in judging others harshly which of course leads to negative feelings and an absence of love? Mother Teresa said “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The Savior has admonished, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” So can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other?
The answer is no the Savior said, “Judge not.” He continued, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Or, to paraphrase, why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in your own house?
So lets choose charity over judgment and criticism. On Sundays replace critical thoughts of others with a searching out of someone new you haven't met and make a point to welcome them, or say a silent prayer to have the Lord guide you to someone who needs a kind word. Instead of finding yourself annoyed with the way your husband loaded the dishwasher choose to be thankful that he did the dishes.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the 12 Apostles said "When we are filled with kindness, we are not judgmental. The Savior taught, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” He also taught that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” 3
The next aspect where we should choose charity is our words
Elder Wirthlin relayed this story in a general conference talk:
“Many years ago, when I was called as a bishop, I had a desire for the bishopric to visit those who were less active in the Church and see if there was anything we could do to bring the blessings of the gospel into their lives.
Elder Wirthlin said The things you say, the tone of your voice, the anger or calm of your words—these things are noticed by your children and by others. They see and learn both the kind and the unkind things we say or do. Nothing exposes our true selves more than how we treat one another in the home.
I recently read a blog where a mom talked about her parenting style and rules. She keeps things simple with as few rules as possible and her main rule is to love one another. She had taught her kids that all their choices should be driven by asking if they are showing love by their actions. For instance are you showing love to your family by cleaning up your toys? By sharing or eating the dinner mom prepared for you? I loved this method of parenting and how it truly teaches charity at a young age.
So I challenge you to choose charity. When you are frustrated because your two year old unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper or pushed his sister for the 5th time in the last hour, choose to discipline with love and not anger. Pray for patience and more charity. Choose to build up your kids and your spouse with encouragement and praise. So often it is our families who bear the brunt of bad moods and frustrations that come from outside sources, but I challenge you to show more love to ones that you love the most. Remember that those relationships are eternal and to treat them with profound love and respect.
And last I come to my 3rd area where we can choose charity and that is our actions
President Hinckley said: If the world is to be improved, the process of love must make a change in the hearts of men. It can do so when we look beyond self to give our love to God and others, and do so with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.”
“We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. … We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.” President Monson
Service is Charity in action. So lets choose charity and serve others with unfailing compassion, patience, and mercy. Lets pray for those qualities in our life and follow the saviors example to serve to individuals. When presented with our visiting and home teaching lets be excited to get to know those on our routes and diligently seek to know them and by doing that we will find opportunities to serve them. I have a strong testimony of visiting teaching and how through that inspired program we can be the Lord's hands to make sure all of his children are supported and loved.
Lets choose to open our eyes and look for those who might seem lonely and invite them to be our friends, lets not overlook those who may seem in desperation but talk to them, listen to them and show them love. Lets do as sister Burton of the Relief Society General Presidency taught and “first observe, then serve.” 6
Service can be hard but it will never be without blessing. President Hinckley said: Every returned missionary can recount experiences of losing oneself in the service of others and finding that to be the most rewarding experience of his or her life. Every member of the Church actively involved in service to God and others can recount similar stories, as can devoted parents and marriage partners who have given of their time and means, have loved and sacrificed so greatly that their concern for each other and their children has known almost no bounds.
Brothers and Sisters I know that our life is made up of our choices, the choices we make each day create the story of our life so let us choose charity in our thoughts, words and actions that we may truly remember Christ in all that we do and strive to be an example and disciple of Him. In John Christ says “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if he have love one to another.” 7
I will leave you with this quote from Mother Teresa, she said:
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”Mother Teresa
1. And the greatest of these is love, Gordon B. Hinckley
2. Charity, Bible Dictionary
3. The Virtue of Kindness, Joseph B. Wirthlin
4. Charity Never Faileth, Thomas S. Monson
5. Effect of Negative Language on Children
6. First Observe, Then Serve, Linda K Burton
7. John 13:35