Kristen Sometimes Faileth

July 24, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 10:56 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

I grew up thinking that I was a pretty charitable person. I frequently saw the Relief Society’s “Charity Never Faileth” slogan and I felt warm and fuzzy inside because I knew deep in my heart that I was a kind and loving person.

Let me give you a few examples of how wonderful I was. In the rare instance that my suburbanite friends and I would pass a homeless person on the street, instead of recoiling in horror like most of my friends did, I would hand my fellow man a buck or two feeling pretty good about myself in the process. Or take the super nerdy kid in school. While a lot of the kids in school would mock, shun, or tease them I would often smile and say hi. Wasn’t I sweet?

Now as I get older and learn a little more about charity and life I realize I’m not as sweet and wonderful as I’d like to be. It seems that lately I’ve had an especially difficult time getting a grasp on charity in my life. Maybe it’s the heat but I feel I’ve been finding too many ways to become irritated with those around me.

How do you have charity for those around you everyday? How about the lady in the ward that wants to be in your business too much, or a friend who drones on and on about their horrible life? What about a sibling, parent, or child that seems to drain you of any good emotions that you may have? The list could go on and on but I might enjoy writing down every person that ever annoyed me just a little too much.

Sure, I can be charitable when it’s easy. It’s when it’s hard that it gets to me. So help a sister out. Apart from taking large doses of prozac how can one apply the principle of charity more effectively in their life?

[Associated song: Morcheeba – Can’t Stand It]


  1. “Now as I get older and learn a little more about charity and life I realize I’m not as sweet and wonderful as I’d like to be.”

    Welcome to the club, sister. Me, too. I’m interested to see what others can contribute.

    Comment by Mark IV — July 25, 2006 @ 5:44 am

  2. Me too! And I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I just had to give a lesson in RS on kindness.

    The everyday irritations can be helped by inventing a reason for them. Maybe that person cut me off on the freeway because they didn’t see me, or they’re rushing somewhere because they’re late, etc.

    One sister in my ward gave a very good solution, though, one I’m going to try to use. When someone does something that bothers you, and you find yourself thinking unkind or uncharitable thoughts, take a mental step back and say a quick prayer in your head for that person.

    You never know what might be going on in their life (or what happened to them in the past that shaped their behavior). Praying for someone, sincerely, is a surefire way to increase feelings of charity towards them.

    Comment by Susan M — July 25, 2006 @ 7:54 am

  3. Is it considered charity if it’s easy? I think so, and I think those who benefit from your “easy” charity would benefit either way. However, I imagine that “hard” charity is where you (the giver) benefits the most.

    One of the things that has almost transformed my life has been the conscious effort to enact the serenity prayer, change the things you can, accept the things you can’t change and seek the wisdom to know the difference. As cheesy as it sounds, it not only brings so much peace into my life but the pettiness and dramas of those around me matter much, much less to me.

    Comment by Rusty — July 25, 2006 @ 7:56 am

  4. I like the suggestions you guys gave. I think they could definitely help.

    Here’s another situation for you: I have to have regular contact with someone that annoys the holy crud out of me. The regular contatct I have with this person isn’t going to go away any time soon. I’m just wondering how I can feel more charity toward this person so my feelings of annoyance don’t consume me (and it’s not Geoff if that’s what you’re thinking). Any suggestions?

    Comment by Kristen J — July 25, 2006 @ 8:14 am

  5. and it’s not Geoff if that’s what you’re thinking


    Comment by Geoff J — July 25, 2006 @ 8:51 am

  6. Kristen, You bring up some good points, but the fact that you can ask such a question is reason to believe that you may not be so far off the mark in the first place. I would suggest the following, because I have found that there is always room for improvement.

    In Matt. 5, Christ made it very clear just how important it is to forgive others. Basically, he said that forgiving is more important than going to church. I assume it is because you can always go to church, but the opportunity may not always be available to reconcile differences with someone you are upset with.

    I would suggest reading a good book about grace. The very best I have found is “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey. It is just a book of stories about grace and what Yancey calls ungrace. If you read it, you will never see grace again, the same as you do now.

    As for your annoyance, nothing is wrong with being a little assertive. Perhaps you can tell the person that when they do —– you can fill in the blank, that it is sometimes unsettling. That you really want to be their friend, but there are things that could help. Just be prepared to hear the things you do that annoy the other person.

    Short of being in the room with that person when they just find out they have lost a loved one, and sharing that moment with them, it can sometimes be hard to see the person that is underneath the exterior that you find bothersome.

    Comment by CEF — July 25, 2006 @ 9:48 am

  7. Thanks for the reference CEF, I’m going to check that out.

    My dad always said, “If you could truly put yourself in someone elses shoes, than you would understand the reasons for their actions.”

    I guess I’m having difficulty getting those shoes tied on.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 25, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  8. A couple weeks ago I realized that I have not been very fair to a person I’m related to. She just really irritated me and we could not have a decent conversation without me flipping my lid. I thought about it a lot one day and told myself that this was not healthy and not the way I should be living. I wrote her a letter explaining the three things I am the most grateful for that she gave me. AND I asked for forgiveness. It was the most freeing things I’ve done in a long time.

    For me I tend to think bad or talk bad about a person and then when I’m around them, I remember the things I’ve said or done and feel ashamed around them. Sometimes I can’t even look them in the face because I know I’ve been such a crummy person. This then makes me treat the person crummy even though I shouldn’t. What I did with this person a few weeks ago took so much out of me, but really helped with my being charitable towards her. Things are much better between me and her and all because I thought of some good things about her.

    I don’t know if any of that made sense, so if you want to know the whole story just call me.

    Comment by Jamie J — July 25, 2006 @ 2:35 pm