I have been thinking about “charity” lately. No, not the “I gave at the office type,” but the charity we Christians claim to believe in. The kind that is typified by the pure love of Christ or loving our neighbors as ourselves etc.
I think I was about seven or eight when I first understood the concept that we should not judge others, categorize them or make assumptions about them based on our own prejudices. I was taught that we should give others the same respect and love that we would like. And I remember thinking, that’s a pretty simple. I can do that. I can check it off and move on.
However, I soon learned that It’s the simple concepts that are the most difficult. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I had that one conquered, only to have something happen and admit that once again, I was making unfounded assumptions about other people. And, although I love other people, how much do I love them and how much is enough?
If I had lived in Biblical times (assuming I would have been male), I would probably have found the teachings of the Pharisees very attractive. There is something reassuring about having a list of actions that can be crossed off. Something definite to measure your righteousness. Donate X amount of money to the widow next door, volunteer 10 days a month at the homeless shelter, and donate at least 35 cans of food to the next Boy Scout food drive–then you can cross “charity” off your list. I could go for that.
As it is, I’m still working on it, and assume I will be until the very end. Such a simple concept.