Charity is pretty much my favorite gospel topic right now. That and mercy. I love it! I want to talk about it all the time and read about it and learn more about how to have it.
Charity is so important that Joseph Smith talked about it in every Relief Society meeting he spoke at. He was urging the saints towards charity.
1 Cor. 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, • • •
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Moroni 7: 44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and 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.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Col. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
1 Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
D&C 88:125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.
“It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of [b]charity[/b]. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them. … The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. …" Joseph Smith
I am especially struck by the verse in 1 Peter. Do you believe we could cover the multitude of sins if we have fervent charity among us? Is it possible for us to love our family, friends and neighbors so much that we want to lift them up and put their sins behind us?
We are nothing without charity. We can do great things, but without charity it does nothing for us. We cannot be saved in the kingdom of God without it. Charity never fails even when other things fail. Have you noticed the connection between charity and the Atonement?
I love the images of "cleave to charity" and "clothe yourself in charity" and the "mantle of charity." It makes me feel like it is something to fill or encompass my entire being. Cleave to charity like you cleave to your beloved spouse. It is the bond of perfectness and peace!
When we see someone perishing, how does our heart tell us to treat them? Do we desire to inflict further harm and pain or do we desire to "put them on our shoulders" and relieve their burden? Charity suffers long and is kind. How do we suffer long? How might this relate to the suffering of Christ? Is this how we "take up his cross" and follow him?
Charity is the most glorious gift we can give or receive. It is a power can change the world.