The concept of charity was not fully comprehended in the Old Testament of the Bible, which focused on meting out justice. The Law of Moses taught an eye-for-an-eye and that the loss of a hand was proper punishment for stealing. The New Testament introduced the new law to replace the Law of Moses. John documented the words of Jesus Christ where he stated:
“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.”
In his writing to the Corinthians Paul extols the high status of charity – Charity, a pure love, excels and exceeds almost all else. He goes on to say that even though he may speak with the tongue of angels, or have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, or have all faith to move mountains, or that he gives all his goods to feed the poor, if he has not charity, he is nothing. And in closing his remarks stating, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”.
Evident in Paul’s remarks on charity is selfless love – acts performed in the complete interest of the benefactor. But not obvious to most is the genius behind the principle of charity. Who really is the benefactor? Might it be a divinely inspired principle that benefits all involved? Might the designer of our existence have understood the transformation eminent in those providing the charitable acts? Life’s experiences have confirmed this to be the case. Charity is a true principle necessary for the full development of the character of men.
The opposition to our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan of happiness has attempted to distort the principle of charity and its everlasting benefits. They have first attempted to deny the opportunities and blessings available to those able to serve by moving the responsibility to assist with the welfare of our fellowman away to a central governing power. They have also created a hopeless dependent society on the permanent “free” handouts of that same governing institution.
A truly effective plan for helping the downtrodden and needy provides temporary relief when needed strongly discouraging any long-term dependencies. It provides the resources necessary to encourage self-reliance. It is a program best administered locally in a personal manner by those closest to the recipient and who are best aware of their needs and the conditions to assure personal accountability. People are first responsible personally for their own welfare after which they should seek assistance from their family, church and community, in that order. True charity is rendered in selfless love with the sincere objective of rendering temporary assistance and “teaching them to fish – to be fed for a lifetime”.
The Federal Government is the absolutely last place for welfare to be administered. It thwarts the principle of charity. It creates a multi-generational dependency for the primary purpose of maintaining power over the people. It robs the caregiver of the opportunity to serve. Unfortunately, power-mongering politicians know that the natural man seeks after free handouts and is easily addicted to these freedom-consuming dependencies.
True charity is a two-way street benefiting all parties involved. Only upon personal enlightenment will the people recognize the importance of true God-given principles to govern their lives rather than being ruled by the whims of men.