“Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”
I Corinthians 13:7, 8a
The thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians is one of the most familiar portions of God’s Word, sometimes called “The Love Chapter.” The word “charity” is translated from the word agape, and describes the highest and purest form of love that exists. It is used in the Bible to speak of God’s love for man, our love for the brethren, Christ’s love for the church, and the husband’s love for his wife.
Our text says, “charity never faileth.” What a powerful and promising force this charity, or love, is! It always prevails. It endures whatever comes. It remains hopeful and optimistic. It is positive, believing the best. It is able to bear whatever comes its way. We all would agree that we need to see this kind of love, or charity, in our hearts, our homes, and our churches.
The most important area of our lives is the matter of relationships. Of course, our relationship to God is first priority. Other relationships include family, friends, and fellow Christians. All of these relationships are strengthened and enhanced by charity. Understanding the nature and power of charity, or love, is necessary to having meaningful, quality relationships.
Charity is not selfish, but selfless. Charity is not lustful and self-serving, but compassionate and self-denying. This is the love that motivated God to give His Son and caused Jesus to suffer on the cross in our place. It is this kind of charity that strengthened the disciples to suffer martyrdom rather than deny the Lord that saved them. This is the kind of love we need in our lives. We are to love each other as Christ loves us.
This is not simply an emotional feeling; it is a commitment to help others and meet their needs as God directs. Charity is an essential quality for a functional and pleasant family life. Families are too often torn apart because members are driven by personal ambitions or agendas, rather than meeting the needs of others. Churches are damaged and fractured because members are more concerned with getting their way than with promoting the cause of Jesus Christ. Humanly speaking, we know that our ability to love has its limitations. However, when God loves others through us, His “charity never faileth.”
One of the most positive influences that children can have in their lives is to see charity lived out between their parents and in the life of God’s church.