In the Mormon Church, charity is defined as being the “pure love of Christ.” “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.”1 Jesus Christ is the perfect example of charity; He showed mankind how to treat others through his words and actions. He loved the sinner, but despised the sin.
The parable of the good Samaritan teaches that we should give to those in need, regardless of whether they are our friends or not.2 Through this example and numerous others in the scriptures, the Savior taught that we are not to decide whether someone deserves our help or not. He has commanded us that if we take care of our own family’s needs first, then we should help all who need our help without judgment on our part.
Mormon prophet Harold B. Lee stated that there are those who need more than material goods: “It is well to remember that there are broken hearts and wounded souls among us that need the tender care of a brother who has an understanding heart and is kind.”3 These are the ones who need a listening ear, a kind smile or an arm around the shoulder.
The Savior’s example of how to forgive others is evident when He hung on the cross and in His final moments forgave those who were responsible. In Matthew 18:33-35, he counseled that if we do not forgive others, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us. “I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you…For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?”4
Mormons believe that each of us were born with charity or the pure love of Christ. So the question remains, why some feel to give charity more than others? We must work at it. We must draw close to the Savior through pray, through studying His life in the scriptures and keeping His commandments, through asking for forgiveness of others and to love ourselves, which increases our love for others.
For more information on the Mormon Church please see the following websites:
1 “Book of Mormon”; Moroni 7:47
2 “Holy Bible”; Luke 10:30-37
3 “Stand Ye in Holy Places”; p.228
4 “Holy Bible”; Matthew 5:44-46