laronius

What is charity?

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The scriptures teach us that charity is the pure love of Christ, a very succinct answer. The problem with succinct answers is that sometimes we fail to dig any deeper feeling we already have THE answer. But the scriptures also hint, or perhaps more than hint, at charity or God's love being more than a divine attribute. In Lehi's vision the tree of life is the ultimate goal of the righteous. Nephi later learns that it represents the love of God and that it "is the most desirable above all things" and "the most joyous to the soul." We also learn that if we advance in perfection in every other way but charity we are still NOTHING. In Moroni 8:25-26 perfect love seems to be the end goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are other treatments of this topic in the scriptures that also seem to encourage us to not be so satisfied with such a succinct definition of charity, the pure love of Christ, not that it is inaccurate in any way but that it in itself is so deep with meaning that we are only scratching the surface if we stop there. So I'm interested if anyone has more in depth definitions or light shedding experiences that can flesh out this incredibly essential quality, if quality is even a broad enough term to call it. 

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23 minutes ago, laronius said:

The scriptures teach us that charity is the pure love of Christ, a very succinct answer. The problem with succinct answers is that sometimes we fail to dig any deeper feeling we already have THE answer. But the scriptures also hint, or perhaps more than hint, at charity or God's love being more than a divine attribute. In Lehi's vision the tree of life is the ultimate goal of the righteous. Nephi later learns that it represents the love of God and that it "is the most desirable above all things" and "the most joyous to the soul." We also learn that if we advance in perfection in every other way but charity we are still NOTHING. In Moroni 8:25-26 perfect love seems to be the end goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are other treatments of this topic in the scriptures that also seem to encourage us to not be so satisfied with such a succinct definition of charity, the pure love of Christ, not that it is inaccurate in any way but that it in itself is so deep with meaning that we are only scratching the surface if we stop there. So I'm interested if anyone has more in depth definitions or light shedding experiences that can flesh out this incredibly essential quality, if quality is even a broad enough term to call it. 

I believe that such things we learn line upon line upon line and precept upon precept upon precept.  I also believe that we are given spiritual gifts of truth (Mornoni 10) so it is not so much that we know so much about a thing as it is that such truth are sprinkled among the Saints that we can increase in knowledge by the nuggets of truths through spiritual connections to others.  But it is not so much to think, know or understand the doctrine of such a thing but rather that we become the example of all aspects or our understanding.

However, I believe we cross a spiritual threshold when our understanding turns from what we can gain to what we can sacrifice and "give" to others.  That like Enos we are no longer concerned or centered in OUR Salvation, OUR Blessings, OUR Understandings, OUR Eternal Glory, OUR Celestial Accomplishments, OUR Repentance, OUR Will, OUR Desires or OUR anything.  And intern we submit all such by and through Agency and then like Christ we suffer and sacrifice (which includes forgiveness and releasing any claim or justice for all transgression against us) and exercise mercy for the good and benefit of others.

And if we meditate on such things - Charity is the opposite of all that Satan and his followers desire, seek and tempt us (including Christ) with.

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Traveler said:

However, I believe we cross a spiritual threshold when our understanding turns from what we can gain to what we can sacrifice and "give" to others.  That like Enos we are no longer concerned or centered in OUR Salvation, OUR Blessings, OUR Understandings, OUR Eternal Glory, OUR Celestial Accomplishments, OUR Repentance, OUR Will, OUR Desires or OUR anything.  And intern we submit all such by and through Agency and then like Christ we suffer and sacrifice (which includes forgiveness and releasing any claim or justice for all transgression against us) and exercise mercy for the good and benefit of others.

This is actually very similar to thoughts I've had recently on consecration and it's connection to charity. In the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we see the physical manifestation of God's love for us and also Christ's willingness to total consecration of his will to his Father's. I think those two principles go hand in hand. In Moroni 7:48 we learn that the Father bestows charity upon all who are "true followers" of his Son Jesus Christ. I think that is God's way of qualifying us for the work because we could not do as the Savior did without that ability to love and sacrifice.

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The reason I delved a little more into charity is directly correlated with this verse of scripture, "And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work."

Why did the Lord separate "charity" and "love" in the same verse, when essentially they are the same thing? The reason, because they aren't the same thing. The key is in the definition of charity, "pure love of Christ."

The scripture that you mentioned previously explaining how the Father bestows charity upon "true followers" of Christ gives added insight. The application, demonstration, of charity can only be offered by those who glorify God, otherwise, it is simply love. As with Christ, everything he performed glorified the Father. All he does, glorifies the Father. In the end, Christ will once again glorify the Father in front of us all.

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18 hours ago, Anddenex said:

The reason I delved a little more into charity is directly correlated with this verse of scripture, "And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work."

Why did the Lord separate "charity" and "love" in the same verse, when essentially they are the same thing? The reason, because they aren't the same thing. The key is in the definition of charity, "pure love of Christ."

The scripture that you mentioned previously explaining how the Father bestows charity upon "true followers" of Christ gives added insight. The application, demonstration, of charity can only be offered by those who glorify God, otherwise, it is simply love. As with Christ, everything he performed glorified the Father. All he does, glorifies the Father. In the end, Christ will once again glorify the Father in front of us all.

It is an interesting distinction. Even an otherwise wicked individual seems to be capable of feeling love towards a parent, spouse or children. Where as charity is a gift, reserved only for the more righteous. In Alma 5 Alma asks whether we have felt to sing the song of "redeeming love." That's an interesting way to phrase it but very synonymous, I think, to the pure love of Christ.

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On 2/23/2021 at 12:55 PM, laronius said:

This is actually very similar to thoughts I've had recently on consecration and it's connection to charity. In the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we see the physical manifestation of God's love for us and also Christ's willingness to total consecration of his will to his Father's. I think those two principles go hand in hand. In Moroni 7:48 we learn that the Father bestows charity upon all who are "true followers" of his Son Jesus Christ. I think that is God's way of qualifying us for the work because we could not do as the Savior did without that ability to love and sacrifice.

I believe that love without sacrifice is counterfeit love - in other words is flawed and incapable of enduring.    If we think about it - even the works of the Father were all part of divine sacrifice for the benefit of others.  There is no expectation for reward.

 

The Traveler

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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.

The first part of that verse is the part we all remember. But the wording of the second part is interesting: "whoso is found possessed of it." It sounds like charity is more than just an attribute that we seek to add to the other desired Christlike qualities but rather something that is all encompassing and affects everything we do, beyond those things we normally associate with the usual manifestations of love. This seems to bear out in other descriptions of charity such as "rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth," and "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

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On 2/24/2021 at 2:22 AM, laronius said:

We also learn that if we advance in perfection in every other way but charity we are still NOTHING.

I've always thought that it was a little uncharitable of Nephi and Moroni to describe as nothing, those who lack charity. I question the accuracy of describing as nothing a person who may have many valuable spiritual gifts, but who might be lacking in charity. I much prefer the way the Lord himself worded the idea in Doctrine and Covenants 

19  And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:19)

Not you are nothing, but you can do nothing.

How is it not uncharitable to describe as nothing one who lacks charity? We are all something, we are  God's greatest creation, whether or not we have charity.

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14 hours ago, askandanswer said:

I've always thought that it was a little uncharitable of Nephi and Moroni to describe as nothing, those who lack charity. I question the accuracy of describing as nothing a person who may have many valuable spiritual gifts, but who might be lacking in charity. I much prefer the way the Lord himself worded the idea in Doctrine and Covenants 

19  And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:19)

Not you are nothing, but you can do nothing.

How is it not uncharitable to describe as nothing one who lacks charity? We are all something, we are  God's greatest creation, whether or not we have charity.

Consider the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13.

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22 hours ago, askandanswer said:

I've always thought that it was a little uncharitable of Nephi and Moroni to describe as nothing, those who lack charity. I question the accuracy of describing as nothing a person who may have many valuable spiritual gifts, but who might be lacking in charity. I much prefer the way the Lord himself worded the idea in Doctrine and Covenants 

19  And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:19)

Not you are nothing, but you can do nothing.

How is it not uncharitable to describe as nothing one who lacks charity? We are all something, we are  God's greatest creation, whether or not we have charity.

A simple example would be the adversary, who indeed did have valuable talents (i.e. gifts), but lacked charity. That is one example of how a person can have and still be nothing.

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On 2/25/2021 at 10:16 AM, askandanswer said:

I've always thought that it was a little uncharitable of Nephi and Moroni to describe as nothing, those who lack charity. I question the accuracy of describing as nothing a person who may have many valuable spiritual gifts, but who might be lacking in charity. I much prefer the way the Lord himself worded the idea in Doctrine and Covenants 

19  And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:19)

Not you are nothing, but you can do nothing.

How is it not uncharitable to describe as nothing one who lacks charity? We are all something, we are  God's greatest creation, whether or not we have charity.

I'm fairly certain that our eternal value in the eyes of God is not being questioned here. Rather it is our inability to do, namely save ourselves, that is being highlighted, as you point out. This was actually a central theme in King Benjamin's discourse as he contrasted our inability with God's ability: "...always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness.." pointing out that we can't even say we are as much as the dust of the earth though we are made of dust but it belongs to him. It is only in light of this immensely great disparity that we come to even begin to comprehend the answer to the angel's question to Nephi: "Knowest thou the condescension of God?" Nephi's response I think goes well with this thread: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." It is only in the comprehension of our nothingness and God's perfection that we understand the depth of love being manifested in everything he and his Son has and continues to do for us.

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