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Sun - Sep 16, 2007 : 10:38 pm
peaceful
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Charity, Works, and Motive
Growing up, I'd have to say that I was a bit of a pious punk religiously, but I was so due, in large amount, to my being incredibly naive.

To demonstrate my naive-ness, I really thought that being emotional was pretty much the same as being spiritual.  Yes...  Believe it.  I was naive.

One other bit of heretical doctrine I believed to the bone was the necessity of action along with a complete disregard for motive or intention.

I know now, and am just learning in recent years that intention is quite important, as well as action.

Scriptures exist which tell us by what we will be condemned.  I somehow thought that due to the large mount of scriptures telling us what to do, to say, and how to act, the motive behind such actions really didn't mean much.

My good friend Scott Morris had quite another idea as to this doctrinal point, and as soon as I realized that I wasn't quite as pious as I thought, I asked him to sit down and explain to me why he thought intent was so important. (This happened about 2 years ago).

He explained to me again his thoughts on the subject, and for the first time due to my attitude, I saw what he was talking about.

You see...  Faith for me has always been related to the word "action".  You tell me how a person can have faith without doing anything about it, and I'll tell you how that person has no faith at all.  Faith is taking a step into darkness.  Faith is reaching for the hand of help without really knowing if it's there or not, but believing it is.  Faith, in many ways, to me is a verb.  So, with this mode of thinking, it was easy to forget about the intent behind the action.  Well...  That and virtually no canonized scriptures exist which come out and explain intent as they do action, at least at first glance....  Boy was I wrong about that.

Enter charity

Today we had a wonderful gospel doctrine lesson on charity.  During the lesson, I found myself sitting and pondering the question, "What is charity, really?"  I had always thought charity was the act of doing something nice, yet the scriptures plainly state that charity is something quite different.

How can one "have faith and move mountains", yet still be considered "nothing"?  That's a pretty bold statement, but the scriptures are rife with examples of this.

I always wondered why someone could do many mighty works in the name of God and still have God say "I never knew thee".  Today I think I learned why.

I believe that charity is the motive behind the action of faith.  To me, that's the only thing that helps all these scriptures make sense.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Say you're walking down a 1-person-wide walkway in an insane hurry to get to a meeting, and an elderly lady gets in your way and slows you down.  You decide to help her along.  I highly believe that motive and intent will have a large degree of sway in whether you get blessed for your action, or not.
  • If you help her out of nothing more than frustration at your current pace, I believe the blessings will be limited.
  • If you help her because you see she is in worse shape than you are, and do it out of pity, I believe you're on the right track.
  • If you help her because you love her for the same reason that Christ loves her, you have what I call, and I believe the scriptures call, "charity".



So....  Yeah...  I think I had an epiphanal moment in that class today.  I believe the action is important, and yeah... it's way easy to see that actions, words, and thoughts are very imporant because of their ubiquity in the scriptures.... BUT...

I now think that my friend Scott may have had a deeper understanding of this principle than me, simply because you have to scripturally dig to get to the explanation of motive and intent which should, in their purest form, be born of charity.