The Sound of Charity

silence of Love

Many people consider charity to be a monetary donation;  associated with the plinking sound of loose change as it hits the bottom of a red bucket, or the pan-handler’s cup.  What if charity made no sound, but was found to be so loud, that it invoked change, not only within ourselves, but within others too.

In an effort to be more grateful for learning experiences,(AKA trials) however difficult, I have sought to develop characteristics that will enable me to transform my perspective of my circumstances.  The Christ-like characteristic of love endures, no matter what. Whether my experiences are actually true or not, is irrelevant; they are my truth, and my reality.  The world we live in revolves around relationships. Sometimes relationships with people are difficult.  Some may not get along with their supervisor or boss.  Students may not like their teachers. Family relationships may be strained.

The word charity is a translation of  the Greek word agapē,  which means love. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes to the  Corinthian Saints, stressing to them why love should be at the center of every disciple’s life. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 it reads:

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.

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.

When we have charity, we patiently endure hardship. I will confess, I have not been very good at that in the past; my family and friends can attest to that. Sometimes our hardship is that of our own doing.  Sometimes we just make bad choices! Other times, friends, family and even strangers make choices that hurt or offend us. Henry B. Eyring has said this about charity,  “We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor. 13:4–5). And then he gave solemn warning against reacting to the fault of others and forgetting our own when he wrote, ‘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 I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12)

Thomas S. Monson has said this on the subject: “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.”

What if having charity means saying nothing at all, when provoked?  If we are to see change, it must start with ourselves. A excerpt from one of my favorite poems says this, “A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her…..but a woman of strength give the best of herself to everyone.”

Charity can be deafening.


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