Reflections 3: Virtue of Charity

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfection disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-13, NKJV, Pp. 1793).

Before I speak on the topic of charity, I must address from where it comes from. For indirectly Apostle Paul in his description of love was also describing God. Love never fails, because love is God, God is love. It is only through this love of God’s which He has so freely given to everyone that we exhibit the heavenly virtue of charity.

Charity is more than benevolent giving; rather it is also, limitless, unconditional, it is filled with an open hearted-acceptance, and overwhelming need to do for others, much like God has done for us. Charity in short is loving, kind, and patient. It cannot be expressed out of envy, boastfulness, pride, rudeness, and it is never self-serving. Charity works out side of the spectrum of anger, of keeping records of wrong doings, as it is more powerful when applied through understanding and sympathy toward our fellow men and women who have less than we do. But the real miracle behind charity is found in the ideal giving of those who seem to have everything. The best example of this is a rich man who has everything but piece of mind, who constantly seeks for solace for actions done in order to become rich, or the remain rich, or in some other matter not related to finances but of relationships, ect. The act of forgiving this person or the offering of kind words which completely changes their way of thinking and or believing for the better can be charity as it lifts them from the bondage of guilt. I offer this example because I have known rich people that on the outside they seem happy, but on the inside they are dying, unfulfilled, left wanting for the words and the love of God.  Mind you this doesn’t have to be a rich person either; anyone could find themselves seeking God in this manner.

Charity therefore, comes from love, which comes directly from God. Charity does not originate with the human soul until God places his hand upon you. Yes, people do nice things for each other all the time, but true charity is the releasing of some sort of bondage which lifts another person’s spirits in such a manner your own heart is filled with the love of God. I liken this to random events, or better known as random acts of kindness, doing something completely unexpected for someone else, for the sake of doing it. This heavenly virtue is second only to love because it comes from love which comes from God.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-13, leaves no stone unturned. It leaves no one out whether you are an adult or a child. It is absolute in its message and can serve to affect your life in two ways. The first being it can if you abide by it, and do what is commanded by God, should set your heart free of sin. An example of this can be taken within personal relationships more predominately between husbands and their wives. If you show your spouse patience, love, kindness, and do not envy them in their accomplishments, nor put them down from your own boastfulness and pride then your heart will be lifted and filled with love, because they will want to love you even more. This also makes your heart slow to anger, much more forgiving, which is the building blocks of truth, loyalty, and trust. In the end this moves you to always wanting to protect them and to cherish them, thus preserving your relationship for an eternity. However, more negatively if you do not do these things which God has commanded, then you are instantly convicted in your heart and you are held prisoner of guilt and of shame for all time, until you ask God to release you. This releasing is in fact Gods greatest act of charity that which He shows through His mercy and again His never ending love.

Charity is always filled with hope that those who experience it shall pass it on to others they know and or don’t know.  It is hopeful that lifelong lessons are learned by the knowledge gained within the act of charity itself, whether it be given or received. Like love it is never failing as it spreads love like wildfire with each charitable act, and as promised by Jesus, we shall receive within the same measure we give to others.

Charity as it is written about in the Bible predominantly speaks upon the idea of giving up all your worldly assets to those who have nothing. Jesus speaks about giving away your wealth in order that you may be able to follow him;

“20 All these I have kept,” the young man said, “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.”

Jesus’s use of the word perfect is not in the strict meaning of doing no wrong, but rather being complete, with nothing left wanting. This is tied to charity because the rich man had vast wealth and the scriptures say he was saddened because he was unable or unwilling to give up his wealth even though it would allow him to follow Jesus. Suppose for an instant that the young rich man had released his burden of wealth, how many people might have been impacted positively? How many starving street dwellers would have been feed, and given a place for the night? What treasures would the young rich man have received in heaven as Jesus had promised him? Ironically, his name does not appear in scripture, just the denotation of (a young rich man), but all the Apostles who gave up everything and followed our Lord, their names are written in the Bible and in the Book of life forever, their stories have been told for over two thousand years, for we know their names.

“7 Every man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9: 7, NKJV, Pp. 1813).

The true disconnect of the wealthy is found in the earthly privilege that they receive because of their wealth, and it is this that keeps them from giving it up, and keeps them in slaved to their wealth. Instead they fall to Satan’s temptation of being one who has, rather to one who has not. This is exactly the same temptation Satan used on Jesus in the desert:

“Then taking him to a high mountain, the devil showed Jesus in an instant all the empires of the world, “I will give you the power and glory of these kingdoms, for it is mine, and I can give it to anyone I want. All you have to do is worship me.” Jesus retorted, “It is written: ‘You must worship God and serve Him alone.’ Having exhausted all these ways of tempting Jesus, the devil left him, to return at a later time” (Lost Gospel Q, Q8, Pp41).

The instruction of Jesus to give it all up was in and of itself a test that he knew the young man would fail, because his heart was not in the things of heaven, but focused on the things on earth.

“17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17, NKJV, Pp. 985).

Charity is compassion, it is that hand in the darkness; it is the prevailing voice which gently guides you home when you are lost. It invokes untold emotions and sparks such incredible acts that defy all known logic. It is that kiss on the forehead to a dying wife, the gentle nudge of husband whose spouse is gripped by fear, the loving hug of a parent who has consoled their child, and it is that great reassuring smile of a stranger that has come to the rescue. God is in every act, He is present in every word, and he is an integral part of the giving of love which is turned into charity by everyone of our unselfish and unconditional deeds. My eyes fill with tears each time I see children spending time with the old, men helping to save a life, a women who shows her nurturing side to a child in need. In any of these examples it could easily be said about anyone one of us, showing that charity or receiving it. Truth be told, God exhibits his charity every day within each request of every sinner who asks for his or her sins to be forgiven. The heavenly virtue of charity is written upon your heart and once you make it a staple in your life there is nothing else which fills your soul with as much loving-kindness of God as to do something for someone else who needs that act to be done. Everything else falls away and your life is then being guided by God; your faith restored, your hope renewed, and your heart filled with God’s love.

Challenge question: With love being at the root of charity why are we not more charitable? List ten different charitable acts which you can do right now for ten different people whom you know or don’t know. Then once you have done these things, keep then between you and God.

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

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