Nearly 10 weeks ago I began attending a Tuesday night class from 7-9pm that would last 12 weeks. The course being taught by Dr. Chauncey Riddle. I have taken fairly extensive notes and which none are fully comprehensible to the actual content from which I have heard. What I mean to say is that
- There was no way to capture all of what Dr. Riddle was saying
- I was doing my very best to listen with spiritual ears, and so what I have heard, may not have been what was said, either way I struggled to note that which I heard.
Tonights lesson was on Ethics from his book "Think Independently". There were two questions that were presented, In fact they are the last two questions in the chapter.
What Is Charity?
To the first question 'what is charity?' Here is what Dr. Riddle says
"charity is the pure love of Christ as explained in first Corinthians chapter 13. It is pure because it seeks nothing for itself. Thus it is not a form of selfishness. It is love because it seeks to bless another, and to be willing to do so by sacrifice. This is the greatest possible good/righteousness that any human being can attain. And it is attained only as a gift from God to his servants. It is the thing most desirable above all else. To have it and to use it is to be like our Savior in the most important way"
Most of us know charity as defined in the Bible is the "pure love of Christ". What was interesting to note was that the etymology of the word pure indicates "unmixed". What is the unmixed Love of Christ? Below are the notes that I took directly from Dr. Riddle. When the class ended I went to Dr. Riddle and ask for further clarification on some things that he had said. He clarified I noted and then read back to him what I had written, the smile and quiet nod indicated that I had captured what he was saying.
"What is Charity? Pure love of Christ. What is pure? “Unmixed”. The only way we can have unmixed love is to remove the impurities of our heart and love as He loves.
This is the unmixed love from Christ, for Christ.
There is a principle of reflection that we must recognize his pure love for us, we then must become like Him and then prove our love by keeping his commandments and loving His children."
The core principle of what Dr. Riddle was saying that when we properly comprehend the pure love that Christ has for us, our hearts are softened and we desire to love Him as he loves us. How do we love him?
"if you love me keep my commandments"
"Love one another even as I have loved you"
"if you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me"
As I quoted those three scriptures to Dr. Riddle he affirmed that those were, to the best of his knowledge, the way we love Christ. As He has instructed.
My eyes teared up as I thought of my friends & my family. I thought of those people who feel like enemies. I thought of the sweet people in my life, all of whom I've said that I love. I realized we only truly love when we first love Christ. I used to think that we must first love ourselves, before we can love others. There is a serious trap in thinking that we must first love ourselves. When we know that Christ loves us, is it possible to not then feel valuable inside our own hearts and minds? The trap of first loving ourselves is that it requires us to prioritize ourselves, which is not the example Christ set for us.
"We all must sacrifice; if you’re not willing to sacrifice to help someone else, then you’re sacrificing for yourself.” Dr. Riddle
Christ did not sacrifice for himself, He sacrificed for others, it was the perfect example.
What Is Joy?
Here is what is in Dr. Riddles book
"The joy of the Scriptures, the joy which man was created to receive it and enjoy, is the personal presence of the Savior in one's life, or, in other words, knowing him face-to-face (see D&C 101:36) when a person becomes a covenant servant of Christ by receiving the fullness of the New and Everlasting covenant and endures in faith unto learning to exhibit charity, the pure love of Christ, then that person will be redeemed from the fall of Adam and will be ushered back into the presence of the Son. Then he or she will have joy and eternal life, which is the greatest of all God's gifts." (Think Independently, pg.96)
We have all heard or read the Scripture "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy" (2Ne. 2:25) you ever looked at the footnote linked to the word Joy? The footnote indicates to be like God. Now let's read the Scripture accordingly. Men are that they might be more like Heavenly Father. What a change that makes; what a different definition that gives us about Joy.
When we think about Joy in regards to happiness I think it makes sense that we are like Heavenly Father, but it is important to note that "Jesus wept" that he was spit upon, ridiculed and ultimately crucified all while being perfect. Ought not we then to realize that such things may happen to us? And that the promise is sure and the reward is Great.
"No sacrifice we make will be greater than the reward we will receive." I hope the change I feel in my heart tonight remains and that I am true to Christ because he was first true to me. True to Christ is always true to others. Love to Christ is always love to others. Being like Heavenly Father is joyful.
I love you