Friday, June 9, 2017

Dream: The Two Hostels

by Nicky Smith
Recently I had a dream in which I was standing on a narrow street. On either side of the street were hostels, one of which was not as nice as the other. The one that was worse was not a place I would ever choose to stay at. I was, however, staying in the nicer of the two hostels, while a friend of mine (Brad) was staying in the one that was not as nice. I came across an Asian girl who was going to be homeless. Without even questioning what to do, my automatic desire and thought was that she was going to come and live with me. In my room at the hostel there weren't any spare beds, although I knew that in Brad's room there was a spare bed. I immediately planned to ask Brad if I could switch rooms with him (meaning I would move into the hostel that was awful and he would move into the nicer hostel) so that the girl who would soon be homeless would have a bed to sleep in. I then went into my room to call him and discovered that there was an extra mattress under my bed. The dream then ended. 

This dream describes the type of person the Lord wants me to become, where I am willing to sacrifice my comforts to help others [In the dream I was willing to move to the gross hostel.] I could have asked my friend to invite the girl to share his room, but that was not good enough. I had to be willing to move so that she can have a place to live. In this case, the Lord allowed me to stay where I was living and still help her, but the point was that in the dream I was totally willing to surrender all in order to help and love others, including those who are different to me [represented by an Asian girl]. I knew that the Lord was describing the level of charity He expects me to develop.

I have read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again in order to understand charity more. 
Paul lists various attributes, such as long-suffering, kindness, humility, and so on, which are necessary prerequisites for possessing charity. Without even one of these attributes, one does not yet have charity.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13)
The phrase "seeketh not her own" has stuck out to me as I have studied this topic. Seeking not our own implies seeking the Father's will in all things. When we obtain His will, we will be guided in how we help others, through being long-suffering, kind, and so on. The minute we seek to gratify our own desires, ahead of what God wants us to do for another, we are seeking our own. If we are to have charity, then everything we do will be what will best help others progress.

Jesus, of course, is the epitome of charity. He invites us to have charity for others:
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15)
There is no greater love demonstrated than one who was willing to give up their life for others. In studying Jesus' life and in feeling His incredible love, I know I have a long way to go before I have the same level of charity He has. But, He is the perfect tutor to help me become more than I am now.

Moses is a good example of someone who had charity for the children of Israel. He gave up his peaceful, abundant lifestyle in order to lead them out of Egypt. He was constantly trying to help them ascend higher and draw closer to God. But, when they sinned he interceded on their behalf before the Lord. For instance, when they made and worshipped the golden calf, Moses prayed, 
31 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (Exodus 32)
Moses pleaded for their forgiveness but said, "If you won't forgive them, strike my name from the book of life!" While most people would have given up on the Israelites and left them in the wilderness, Moses continued to display incredible charity through his words and actions. He was willing to give everything up in order to save the Israelites. If we are also to have charity, we also ought to be willing to give up every comfort, even our own lives if God requires, in order to benefit others. 

Paul states that charity is unlike other gifts God gives us because while someone who has the gift of prophecy does not always prophecy and while someone who has the gift of knowledge does not always speak knowledge, someone who has charity will always have charity. This is not a gift that is present sometimes and other times not. If there are moments where we lack charity, we do not yet have charity.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
If possessing charity requires us to be charitable all the time, charity entails treating others the way God wants us to all the time. Having charity can only be had when we are sinless (since sin is selfish and is the antithesis of charity). It is then not surprising that charity is called the bond of perfectness and that all other commandments are kept through the keeping of the two great commandments of loving God and others (Matthew 22:40).
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:14)
I desire to have the kind of charity the Lord is showing me in this dream. As I have asked how I can obtain this gift, the answer is simple (yet, difficult to implement): prayer!
...pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.... (Moroni 7:48)
The key to developing charity is a constant connection with God. If we are constantly praying and obeying all the promptings we receive, we can and will be told how to act in all situations. Alma states:
...let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. (Alma 34:27)
Recently I have been trying to pray all day (which can be hard with 5 very young noisy kids constantly around me) asking God how I should be acting and what I should be saying. I am begging God to help me have charity. When I am attentive, the Holy Ghost reveals to me how to show love to others. I know that as I am completely obedient to the promptings I receive and seek to do everything God commands me (i.e. I become sinless), I will at some point be given the gift of charity. I will one day become the type of person who does not think twice about offering all the things that provide me with comfort (and even my life) for the benefit of another. 

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