Charity has always seemed to me to be a very lofty goal. Not only is charity “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47), but it “suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity …” (Moroni 7: 45). On top of all that, “whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” (Moroni 7:47).
How is such a goal to be reached? How can anyone ever hope to obtain this kind of love?
I know that we must first “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48), but when I read President Monson’s words I came to understand that it is through our everyday interactions that we can develop and strengthen and eventually be filled with this love of God.
President Monson stated: “I consider charity—or ‘the pure love of Christ’—to be the opposite of criticism and judging…I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
“I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others …
“Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become easily offended. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are …
“In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out…” (pages 99-101).
I came to realize that the best place to cultivate this Christlike love is in our own families. Every time a loved one lets us down, offends us, annoys us, or falls short of where we think they ought to be, it gives us one more opportunity to instill feelings of sympathy and compassion toward them. If we can demonstrate charity with people whom we already love, it will make it all the more easy to express those same reactions with those with whom we may not have such a close relationship.
My work environment came quickly to my mind as such a place. I didn’t realize how many opportunities I had throughout my day—working with kids with behavior and emotional disabilities—to respond with charity instead of judgment. I realized that the Lord is blessing me with these opportunities to become more like Him. I am a long way away from being filled with the pure love of Christ, but I am grateful to learn, through my study of this book, that I am on the right track, that the Lord is there to help me as I pray for His guidance, and that I am a daughter in His kingdom.