What exactly is charity? You hear people say “I don’t want your charity!” as if it is something deplorable like the plague. The first definition of charity I “googled” discouraged me. I read through every line of it hoping that one line would get it right. It didn’t. It indicated that charity was just some monetary or food disbursement. That’s basically saying that God is just some money you give to someone so they can “get by”. If that were an accurate definition, the Bible in 1Corinthians 13:3(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.) would have said the opposite. It would have said that you have charity if you give everything you have to feed the poor. If that isn’t right, the dictionary definition for charity is wrong at the core of it. People give because of charity. It is not the giving of monetary goods. It is the giving of oneself. The care at the core of the act of giving. The Bible in John 3:16 shows that God’s giving was a byproduct of His Love.
The New King James version of the Bible translates the chapter on charity to a chapter on love. Because in its essence, charity is love. It is first the love, then the care and concern that causes us to give that makes the gift worth giving. We could for example give to show that we just “have it like that” to show off. We could give out of guilt. We could give to get something out of our way that we’ve rejected in our hearts but don’t want to just throw away because of money spent. We could give to look good to others. It is that kind of giving that isn’t any part of charity. No one wants that kind of “gift”. When you love, it changes lives. It can change the status of someone’s health. Love can take a shepherd boy and make him a king. Love can take a reject massage parlor girl and reshape her world into something beautiful. Love can take the hopeless, the rejected, foolish things of this world to confound the wise according to 1 Corinthians 1:27. Love didn’t just give me something so that I could make it another day. Love changed my life inside and out.
Charity (LOVE) as I said before, isn’t a dollar plus tax you give someone so that they can get a cheeseburger so they won’t be hungry. Love is checking in on them so that you can see how they are. Love is giving that much needed hand squeeze or word of encouragement when you can feel their struggle. Love is being in tune enough to feel their struggle because you care. Charity can have many byproducts, a hug, a listening ear, respect, understanding, empathy. Love can also show up as a stern word or a swift kick in the pants. Love is that thing you don’t want anyone to tell you but you needed to hear as uncomfortable as it may be. Love is addressing that issue that everyone else is avoiding for the sake of being “tolerant”, even if the behavior is killing the person, their family, children and grandchildren. Love can sometimes be misconstrued as hate. If you love a person so much and you think they are great, why would you allow their legacy to die? Wouldn’t that be the real hate? Why wouldn’t you at least tell them even once that their legacy is in danger? Don’t you want to see their children grow up to be great and loving people? I Do.
I used to wonder how God could even love me. I thought my lifestyle, my sin was too great for God to accept me. My sins are vast. They are many. The reality of the situation was that it was I who wasn’t accepting God. I wasn’t accepting Him because I thought He couldn’t accept me. I would “run away” (as if I could escape Him) because I wasn’t living right. I wasn’t raised to go to church every Sunday or even really at all. We’d maybe go one time in a year or five years. I was the “unchurched”. I guess if you know Jesus, you can imagine my surprise when I found out He is real and accessible. I was floored (literally). I ran around telling people about Jesus. They didn’t hear me. A few listened because they knew me before I met Him. That made a difference. I was overwhelmed by the vastness of His Love. It’s amazing.
I only want to let you know that God Loves you. He is real. His love is amazing and he wants a relationship with you. The Bible in Romans 5:8 says (But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.)