Saturday, October 11, 2014

How Do I Develop Charity?

As mentioned in my last post, charity is the pure love of Christ, the perfect way he loved others. And we have been commanded to develop it: "the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing" (2 Nephi 26:30). That's a rather difficult mandate, isn't it? But it's not impossible.

To start, it helps to understand a little more about what charity is and how it is showed. A good place to start is by studying Moroni 7 in the Book of Mormon or 1 Corinthians 13 in the New Testament. Moroni defines it this way: "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Now I'm going to substitute in some antonyms to reflect better what charity is rather than what is is not, along with a translation to modern English: "And charity suffers long, and is kind, and [tolerant], is [humble], [selfless], [patient], [virtuous], and...rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

That seems a little easier, right? It will still require effort, but at least you know now what it means to not be "puffed up." The next step is not to try to develop it all at once--that would be too overwhelming. So you start by picking one and working on it until you've gotten pretty good at it, then start on a new one. The root of it all is something very simple--service. As you start to focus on helping others, you will find that almost without noticing those other attributes will develop as well. The reason for that is because your love for them will grow.

"We can all come to be like the Savior as we serve God's children."
The best thing about developing charity is that we aren't alone in the process. Our Savior Jesus Christ is there to help us and strengthen us and allow us to go beyond our normal capacities and reach new heights. The most amazing thing about the gospel is that it always comes back to Christ and his Atonement, or his suffering and sacrifice for each one of us. As we pray for strength, little by little we will be able to develop those attributes of charity that will bring great blessings into our lives.

The next post will be about the blessings that come as we strive to develop charity, and I will also report on blessings I have personally received as I strive to develop this Christlike attribute. So stay tuned!

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