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What is Charity?

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word charity

What is charity? That is up to you, but if authentic all heart, no expectations, conditions, or credit. Wrote St. Augustine, “Charity is the root of all good works,” no ask, signature, footprint, just light.

Wrote Mother Theresa, who lived to give, “Charity and love are the same… With charity you give love … so do not just give money, but reach out with your hand…” touch someone, resolve to lift them.

In a time of unusual disorientation, when life’s pace triggers alienation and a desperate desire not to get lost in the crowd, people escape anonymity by chasing recognition, defaulting to “likes” and social media followers. If charity is involved, whatever is done gets broadcast to the world.

But charity – historically, spiritually, honestly understood – is not … about giving money to see your name appear in the annual report, or to offset financial gains, or to have someone repeat your name, or even for the thank you.

Charity is not .. backing a cause or candidate because you despise an opposing cause or candidate, or so you can indulge a simmering resentment, annoy a neighbor, win some intangible contest, or even assuage some unspecified guilt.

Charity, despite common parlance and tax-deductible contributions, is really more than that, it is a pilgrimage from twinge to pang to heavy heart, seeing another in need, and reflexively responding.

Charity is not about replacing the irreplaceable gifts – time, hard work, spiritual connection, genuine empathy, applied energy, a heavy lift, hard conversation, patience, or love – with money.

Money is needed to keep body and soul together, for basic human survival, and helps the beleaguered soul get through one more day, materially persist, and buy food, clothes, and shelter, but real charity involves the “reaching out” of which Mother Theresa spoke, being personal not woke.

Real charity is holding a frail arm, visiting an ailing or grieving soul on impulse, thinking about where they are, and how you might intersect and lighten their moment, offer hope when they hunger for it.

Real charity is stilling an anxious heart with effort, answers, and planks for the bridge they need to cross the river they face, which you will never see unless you look through their eyes, helping them get from where they are to where they want to be, need to be, listening to their whole story, caring too.

Real charity is, more often than not, forgetting the rest of the world for a bit, making someone the center of your attention, with intent and no regrets for time spent. It is doing what the hurry-hurry part of you does not want to do, says you have no time to do, yet what plainly needs doing.

Charity is listening closely, observing closely, trying to feel the fear, anxiety, animosity, and sometimes hopelessness, and helping put it in perspective, scroll it back, turn it down, replace it with trust and hope, love and life’s promise, reaffirming what needs affirming, sidelining what needs disposal.

Charity is putting yourself in the place of another, trying to do so, entering their world, the uncertainty, darkness, grief, worry zone, sense of entrapment, ambivalence, whatever the battle is – not shying but working on it with them, hitching your horsepower to their wagon, pulling together.

Charity is about giving more than money; it is about giving respect, to those for whom others have shown little, so little over so long that they have begun to think they deserve none, and yet – they do.

Charity is about giving of yourself – because yourself, you, who you are, your walking, talking, hugging, caring, listening, eye-to-eye being, is what they really need. They need to know they have value in your life, which instantly upvalues their life, every single time.

Charity is not about making the giver feel better, but making the one in need feel better, not by feeding a problem but by helping to resolve it, replacing insecurity with security, and grounded hope.

The real face of charity is not yours or mine, not a tax receipt for money that helps, but something larger, more difficult, and more lasting, giving knowledge that someone counts in the heart of their fellow man, that goodness still walks this distressed land, goodness made real by you.

Henry David Thoreau famously wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them, but live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”

What is charity? Charity is making someone else your whole world for a moment, which can make you theirs, and change everything.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Dan W.
Dan W.
29 days ago

Agree that one-on-one charity is the most powerful type of charity but what can be equally as powerful is identifying organizations within your community that address basic human needs such as hunger for both your personal and financial assistance.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
29 days ago

When people of good character recognize that some people are in need of the basic necessities of life or have experienced something that requires understanding, in order to help with the situation , communication between the provider of the charity and those in need will be a major factor in seeing to it that the ideas of kindness and fairness are important in a civilized society. This is a good article, it shows how much things like kindness and fairness can influence the thinking of those in positions that have what is needed to bring balance into lives that need balance. Positive ,optimistic thoughts , hope for improvements where needed, these expressions of caring are noble . In the spirit of Faith, Family and Freedom. Well done with this article RBC .

Margie S.
Margie S.
1 month ago

Thank you Robert Charles for a beautifully written article on Charity. I will definitely share it with family & friends.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

For over ten years I contributed $20-30 on a fixed income whenever the Shriners + others sent a request through the mail but thanks to Bidenomics, I don’t anymore. What is charity? Its that thing I don’t give to anymore because once you say “no” to Shriner kids, how can I excuse giving to the NRA or Trump or…?

Max
Max
1 month ago

RBC, wonderful article about what real charity is. As you know, a few weeks ago, there was a tornado that destroyed a community in west Central Ohio around the Indian Lake area. Volunteers from the surrounding communities immediately went in to help through physical, moral, and spiritual support. An outside group, The Samaritan’s Purse, came in also to help and organize relief to the victims. They were very impressed with the many volunteers that helped out the community and continue to do so as the devastated community is slowly recovering. No one came in looking for personal recognition or achievement just a simple “Thank you” was all that was needed.
Have a great weekend!!

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