My mother taught me a wonderful lesson while I was growing up. Whenever she was struggling with anyone—whether with one of her children, a member of our congregation, or a neighbor—she refused to gossip about or belittle that person. Instead she referred to them as her “charity challenge” and began praying that Heavenly Father could help her see this individual as He did so that she could really come to love them. Three weeks into college I have already met a plethora of my own “charity challenges”—from roommates who test my patience, to boys who break my heart. At first it can seem tempting to just criticize them and let myself be filled with anger. However I have tried to really follow my mom’s example and act as a person who truly understands that this love of God is “the most desirable above all things”. Each morning and night I ask my Heavenly Father to help me be filled with His love towards these people with whom it may be difficult to have charitable thoughts and intentions. Through these prayers I have witnessed miracles. Within days and sometimes within hours it is as though my attitude just reverses and instead of seeking contention I am filled with compassion.
For instance, last night I was spending time with a boy who I had really come to like and who had taken me on a date on Friday night. During our conversation he started to talk about taking a different girl out this coming weekend. I sat there stunned wondering a) what made him want to date someone else so soon and b) why he was even discussing this in front of me. I went to bed filled with a lot of hurt and confusion directed at him. Yet even in this state I knelt and asked Heavenly Father to help me have charity for him. This morning as I was getting ready for school and thinking about him I felt that answer to my prayer. I began to understand his thought process a little more and realize that he was not out to intentionally hurt me. I know that each and every one of us can work to allow this love of God, this charity, into our hearts and lives more frequently and that as we do we will be blessed to live a life closer to that of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.
This article was written by Katie S., a student at Brigham Young University and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.