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Why Charity Isn’t a Checklist

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I feel like charity can be over-complicated. It can be thought that if we need faith, there must be hope, and both require charity; or that hope without faith is nothing. Either way, faith, hope, and charity always seem to go hand in hand, as if one is not complete without the other.

Moroni 10:21 says, “And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.”

Personally, it seems as if it is saying that if we have no hope, or if we have no faith, we cannot have high expectations. Faith, hope, and charity are each individually vital for us to have.

And yet Moroni 10:20 says, “Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.”

Here, it seems that the three are linked together. If you have one, then the other must be there as well. The three are equally important.

1 Corinthians 13:13 seems to suggest otherwise: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Moroni 7:44 tells us, “If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.”

Without charity, we are nothing.

Moroni 10:23 teaches us that faith helps us to achieve all of this: “And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.”

All of these scriptures discuss faith, hope and charity and can be interpreted in different ways. But all together, we need to be searching after faith, hope, and charity. Each of these can help us to become better.

Faith is, as is often said, like a seed, and hope is a desire for something better.

And charity is service and love.

It is not, however, a checklist. Although charity has been over-complicated, it has also been over-simplified. You can not check off a list of good deeds and throw the list away. It is not a chore chart either. Charity is different in that it “never faileth” and it “endureth forever.” It is something we must be “possessed” with as Moroni 7 said.

We must endeavor to take the love of Christ within us, so that we may have charity at all times and be truly “possessed” with it.

Christ’s love and compassion was charity. It cannot be replicated completely, but it can be sought after.

He never stopped caring and serving, even today. He did not check of His list, but He served continually. He is our example.

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How do we achieve that? How do we remember that charity is more than just action, but is within us, like it is within Christ?

Moroni 7:48 says “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”

Like many other attributes of the gospel, to have charity requires prayer and a decision to follow Christ. Studying of the scriptures and of the words of prophets can also help us to find our own personal applications of charity.

With those steps, and the many others that we are often advised to do, we can have charity. And with charity, often comes faith and hope, for if we are seeking one, we will surely find the others. And in the end, we will find Him.

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Lauren Kutschke
Lauren Kutschke
Lauren is studying Journalism at Brigham Young University and considers the East Coast home. She has a passion for writing, photography, skiing, hiking, and traveling. She enjoys studying German and is married to her best friend.

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