The Meaning of Christian Charity

I saw a sign recently that read: “Put Christ back into Christmas.” That slogan is usually associated with a time several years ago when many individuals and businesses were spelling “Christmas as Xmas”. That practice has diminished but the erosion of real charity toward others continues, and our lack of respect and good will toward some of our neighbors is widespread. During Christmas many people spend lavishly on presents for their families, friends and associates, leaving only a pittance for meaningful charity. Emily Dickinson explains in one of her famous poems that success can be appreciated only by those who really need it. I quote from that poem here, but I’ve substituted the word “charity” for “success.”

“Charity is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need….”

Christ taught unconditional love that extends, not only to our families and friends, but to those who hate and despise us. One way to get back on a charitable track is to emulate the teaching of Christ: love your neighbor as yourself and do good to those who persecute you in his name. That message is as important and valid today as it was centuries ago, and it’s potential for goodness and benefits to mankind are beyond imagination. Taking care of one’s family and treating looking after one’s friends and associates is good. Furthermore, contributions and good works to help the needy are noble and commendable, and charitable organizations perform a great service to society. But these alone will not compensate for a lack of true charity toward others, simply because they are different than we are or because we don’t agree with them.

2 thoughts on “The Meaning of Christian Charity

  1. Very good post. We all need to realize what is important in this world and do our best to help those that get lost in the shuffle and truly need our help.


  2. So often we Christians find ourselves appearing to others as being non-inclusive because we enjoy and need the fellowship of one another. We can enjoy being a part of a Christian group however, and minister to others. Some of us do that better than others. (I know that I fall short too often.) If we are not watchful we can let traditions and prejudice interfere. However, it all comes down to what Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like into it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” KJV


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