Sunday, October 16, 2016

Walking the Savior’s Path of Charity

President Howard W. Hunter taught that the Savior "gave us His love, His service, and His life...We should strive to give as He gave."  Most particularly, President Hunter encouraged church members to follow the Savior's example of charity in their everyday lives.

Acts of charity were a defining aspect of Howard W. Hunter's career in the legal profession.  A fellow attorney explained:  " He spent a lot of his time giving [free] legal service... because he just did not have the heart to send a bill...He was perceived as a friend, guide, counselor, and a professional who was much more concerned about seeing that people got the help they needed rather than get compensated for it."

An old axiom states that a man "all wrapped up in himself makes a small bundle."  Love has a certain way of making a small bundle large.  The key is to love our neighbor, including the neighbor that is difficult to love.  We need to rember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors--everywhere.  Love should have no boundary; we should have non arrow loyalties.  Christ said, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?  Do not even the publicans the same?"

In an important message to the Latter day Saints in Nauvoo just one year before his tragic and untimely martyrdom, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:  "If we would secure and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst." (HIstor of the Church, 5: 498-99.)

That is magnificent counsel today, even as it was [then].  The world in which we live, whether close to home or far away, needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It provides the only way the world will ever know peace.  We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving. We need to be slower to anger and more prompt to help. We need to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution.  In short, we need to love one another with the pure love of Christ, with genuine charity and compassion and, if necessary, shared suffering, for that is the way God loves us.

...Charity encompasses all other godly virtues.  It distinguishes both the beginning and the end of the plan of salvation.  When all else fails, charity--Christ's love--will not fail.  It is the greatest of all divine attributes. 

The world in which we live would benefit greatly if men and women everywhere would exercise the pure love of Christ, which is kind, meek, and lowly.  It is without envy or pride.  It is selfless because it seeks nothing in return.  It does not countenance evil or ill will, nor rejoice in iniquity; it has no place for bigotry, hatred, or violence.  It refuses to condone ridicule, vulgarity, abuse, orostracism.  It  encourages diverse people to live together in Christian love regardless of religious belief, race, nationality, financial standing, education, or culture.  The Savior has commanded us to love one another as he has loved us; to clothe ourselves "with the bond of charity" as he so clothed himself.  We are called upon to purify our inner feelings, to change our hearts, to make out outward actions and appearance conform to what we say we believe and feel inside. We are to be true disciples of Christ.

"Wherefore, who so believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world...

"In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way."

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