The Pure Love of Christ
Elder Norm Masters Full Time Missionary The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Upper Country News Reporter Cambridge, Idaho August 2014
Many years ago, when I was in the Air Force, I was stationed at Torrejón Air Base, just outside of Madrid, Spain. When I arrived, I spoke no Spanish at all. My brother, who had taken Spanish in high school, told me that sombrero was the word for ‘hat’ in Spanish. I soon learned that the Spanish people do not use the word ‘sombrero’. That is a word used in Mexico and in South America. The word used in Spain for hat is ‘gorro’.
Another word that I learned during my four years in Spain is the word ‘simpático’. Simpático in general means ‘nice’, ‘caring’, and ‘understanding’, all rolled into one word. Even those words don’t quite describe ‘simpático’. There is a deeper meaning that can’t be fully described.
Charity is a word we hear often and is described as ‘giving’, ‘kindness’, etc. However, charity is another word that can mean more than the common terms that we use to describe it. Charity is described in our church as ‘the pure love of Christ’. If we truly strive to pattern our life after Jesus Christ, charity can become a way of life for each of us.
Paul the Apostle gave us an insight into this level of love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 4-7 where he states:
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Paul ends Chapter 13 with verse 13:
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
In the Book of Mormon the prophet Moroni relates the words of his earthly father, Mormon, concerning charity by saying in Chapter 7 of Moroni:
44 … 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.
45 And charity 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 but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 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.
These two scriptures best describe the full meaning of charity. As we can see, charity is more than simple giving to others. It is a way of life. If we can accomplish this, we are living a Christ-like life.