Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Charity

Some recent events in my life, followed by a relaxed—but not necessarily relaxing—two week break from school, have given me plenty of both cause and opportunity for introspection. I usually avoid personal posts on my blog, but I'm going to break with tradition today and share some of my thoughts in the hope that they might help someone.

I've been thinking a lot about how I can become a better person. Among other things, I want to be a better:
  • husband of my (as-yet very much future) wife.
  • father of my future children.
  • friend, co-worker and family member.
  • child of God.
I have thought and prayed a lot about what I can do to improve, and the result of many hours of contemplation is one word: charity.

Charity is the "highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love" (source), and both the Bible and the Book of Mormon talk about its preeminence. The apostle Paul in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 13) and the prophet Mormon in the Book of Mormon both taught a similar principle:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

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.

(Moroni 7:46–47; see also v. 44–48)
I set goals at the beginning of every semester. This semester my goal isn't a resolution to do anything, but a resolution to become something. I want to fundamentally change my character to become more like Christ in my love for others.

I want to be a better listener. I want to serve others more. I want to be a better home teacher. I want to do random acts of meaningful service for lots of people. I want to smile at others more often. I want to be freer with compliments. I want to focus on others rather than myself. I want to not judge others, but to see them as Christ sees them.

That's a pretty tall order. So how do I pull it off? Thankfully, Mormon not only outlined the importance of charity, but he also explained how to develop it:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love....

(Moroni 7:48)
It's humbling to think how far I have to go, but this year I'm going to take a small step on the road to becoming more like Christ. Through prayer, action, and the grace of Christ, I'm confident that that step will be an effective and worthwhile one.

I believe that God wants me to improve, and that in Christ he has provided a way for me to do so:
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

(Moroni 10:32–33)
That's a pretty amazing promise.

If I seem a little nicer the next time you see me, now you'll know why. :)

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Dude, you are one of the most charitable guys I know already! You're making the rest of us look bad!