One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is Moroni Chapter 7. In this chapter, Moroni shares the words of his father, Mormon. This chapter is packed with powerful truths, including the truth that we are called to judge by the Light of Christ, the truth of the ministering of angels, and the necessities of faith, hope, and charity. For this piece, I want to focus on charity.
Mormon uses some pretty powerful words to explain charity. A person with true charity is kind, does not envy, is not prideful, watches out for others, is not easily provoked, has no evil thoughts, does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Not just some of the things, not the things that are convenient, not your favorite things, not the flashy noticeable and profitable things, but all things.
We bear through challenges, be they questions about beliefs, health issues, financial struggles, marital/family problems, injustices of the world, and more. We bear our own things and we bear each other’s burdens as Christ bore all of ours.
We believe all things. I do not think this means we believe everything and anything, but we believe in all of the words of God given through His prophets. We believe they are called of God and we are obedient to their counsel. We sustain our leaders, even when we think they are wrong. This means we follow their counsel faithfully without spreading doubt to others and believe God is in control. We believe in all that the Savior is capable of redeeming us from. We believe in all of our covenants. We believe in the scriptures. We believe in the Godhead. We believe in repentance and conversion. We believe in eternal families. We believe in everlasting life. We believe in the temple. We believe in the Plan of Salvation. We don’t pick and choose what is convenient or what sounds nice or what matches best with current social priorities. We believe all things that come from God, no matter what intellectuals of the world claim.
We have hope in the atonement of Christ to carry us through all that we bear, for Christ’s atonement literally covers all things. Things we cannot even begin to understand. Even while going through all of our pains and struggles and frustrations, we hope for humility to understand and patience to endure. We have hope that peace will, at last, be on the Earth when He returns. We have hope in the eternities and that our time here will be well worth the wait. We do not “hope” for the church to change to fit the mold we want. We do not hope for the death of those with whom we disagree and dislike. We do not hope for convenience. We do not hope for worldly acceptance. We hope for truth and righteousness.
We endure all things in our life, remaining steadfast and immovable on the narrow path. If we want to claim to have the virtue of charity, this has to be our goal. We cannot let things of the world take priority over the love of our Savior. Our values must be centered on Christ and living as His disciples in order for us to be living charitably.
In verse 46, Mormon is pretty brutal and says if you do not have charity, you are nothing. You can have some good things, like knowledge, strength, empathy, chastity, and more. But if you do not have charity, even these admirable virtues will fail you in the end.
I believe, like Mormon, that charity is above all else. It encompasses all good attributes, such as kindness, humility, rejoicing in truth and light, patience, long-suffering, and everything else mentioned earlier. It is greater than any of these things standing alone.
Kindness is great. But kindness in the name of Christ will not fail.
Empathy is very important. But without compassion and charity to back it up, it can lead to passive tolerance that can damage our spirits.
Humility is wonderful. But alone, it does not have much of an impact.
Love is great. It feels good and can unify. But the love of Christ is even greater. The love of Christ is more than a feeling, more than romance.
Charity will never fail because charity is the very nature, even the pure love of Christ. And Christ has conquered all things.
Charity is how God loves us. Charity is how Jesus Christ loves us. When Jesus asks us to “be ye therefore perfect,” He is asking us to have pure charity.
My husband gained a fuller personal understanding of just what charity really is as a missionary. There was a moment where a full realization of the stewardship he had over the area he was serving in suddenly came over him. As part of this, he realized how valuable every single one of these people are to God as one of His children, and felt an overwhelming amount of love for every single one of them, even though he only knew a small amount of them. He felt like he got a small glimpse of how God sees all of us, and the amazing love He feels for all of us. This overwhelming love motivated him to want to do more to help the people come to Christ and to find ways to show them how much he cared about them and loved them to help them feel God’s love through him.
Charity is more than loving others. It is more than kindness, service, humility, empathy, compassion, more than enduring. It is all of those things, but with the specific intent to direct everyone towards Christ our Savior.
If you feel you are struggling with charity (hint: we all are), Silvia H. Allred, former First Counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency, says we must first “have the desire to increase in charity and be more Christlike.” Then, we must “pray unto the Father with all the energy of [our hearts] that [we] may be filled with this love” (Mor 7:48). We must read the scriptures and study the words of the prophets. This “can bring our minds to the Savior and to a desire to be more like Him.” Finally, we must surround ourselves with goodness and start our practice. As a professional musician, I could go deep into explaining what practice is. Suffice it to say, practice must be consistent, sincere, and focused to have any lasting effect. If we can truly practice charity, we can only be blessed in the end.
- “Charity Never Faileth” – President Thomas S. Monson, October 2010
- “Charity Never Faileth” – Silvia H. Allred, October 2011
- The Book of Moroni Chapter 7, The Book of Mormon
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