The gift of charity

I love the concept of charity. It’s an idea that goes way beyond an organization you give to when someone requests a donation. Often used as a synonym for love in scriptural references, charity can be described as human love reflecting the divine. Charity involves loving when it is difficult, resisted, refused, or when we simply don’t feel like it. Charity is love that pushes past fear, doubt, selfishness, reluctance—to let the Christ shine through.

To me, the words “Where charity stands watching” in Phillips Brooks’s hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 223) could be rephrased, “When we stand ready to love and won’t take a single self-limiting no for an answer.” My rephrase isn’t as pretty, but it explains my point.

Charity is a gift that brings as much to the giver as to the receiver, although to be truly charitable, the love-offering is never self-serving.

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