Monday, April 3, 2017

Being Nothing without Charity and "Being Worthy": How We Miss the Mark

I interpret the idea that we are nothing without charity as being a refutation of the natural tendency to value things and create measurements that make us feel better than others. So many other things we tend to value highly separate us from others by elevating us above them and making us worth more (or, interestingly, "more worthy"); charity levels the field and truly sets us as equal in worth.

Someone publicly gives away lots of money out of extreme narcicism? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone prophesies constantly but does nothing to give actual help to those who need help? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone gives phenomenal talks in church, full of poetic and inspiring imagery, but is a selfish jerk otherwise? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone serves their entire adult life in highly visible church callings but looks down on everyone else due to their pride? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else.

Love as the foundation of all else (the glue holding everything else together) is something I like, so I am okay with statements that say everything else falls apart or crashes to the ground without that foundation. ("on this hang all the law and the prophets")

It helps that I view it as a process, not an event - a pathway, not a destination - an issue of effort, not full accomplishment. It's not that I need to be perfectly charitable right now or I'm worthless, but rather that I value charity above everything else and am trying to be charitable.


Shawna said...

We were reading Moroni 7:47 in Sunday School today ("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.") It struck me as an extremely hopeful verse. There was no long "to do" list, only a simple assurance that if we have learned to love and value others, then we've gotten the most important thing right.

Papa D said...

I love that entire chapter, Shawna, along with 1 Corinthians 13. Together, they are a wonderful foundation; without them (and Jesus' response to the question about the greatest commandment) it is easy to get as rule obsessed as the ancient Hebrews and the Jewish Pharisees.