Charity is a word that, to some extent, has taken on negative connotation lately. To some, a charity is an organization whose mission is making money. A “charity case” is some poor soul we stoop down to assist—perhaps with a sense of superiority or pity. Then again, we might be on the receiving end of charity, much to our shame. Sometimes we refuse charity out of pride, even taking steps to ensure that we never need it. Even Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word is along those lines.
I’d like to resurrect the Latin root of the word. Caritas means, simply, “Christian love.” It applies to the love God freely shares with us and the love we reciprocate. It applies to the love we freely share with every person we encounter. And it applies to the love freely shared with us by others.
Charity is not a burden or a source of shame. It is not to be avoided. Rather, it is to be embraced. It is the atmosphere of heaven—the oxygen of the kingdom of God. Let’s work together to redeem this word. Let’s share, give, and receive charity today. You’ll touch heaven and help another do the same.
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