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Knowing the wrong turns is necessary for finding our way, and therein lies the positive message.
A post a couple of days back talked about the decline of Christian morality. I’d like to think it is as strong as ever and maybe just drowned out by the noise. But I have noticed some things slipping away ever so slowly. A good example of something that has slipped away is charity.
The word charity originally meant Christian love, so when the subjects of King James read, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity,” the greatest of these was Christian love. Somewhere along the line, charity was taken over and used — and I have to wonder perhaps abused — to the point it no longer meant Christian love. The meaning has more or less changed to where now it is just voluntary giving. It could be given begrudgingly without a smidgeon of care or may be solely for the purpose of maxing out the tax advantage, but it will be charity. On that note, Christian love is listed on Schedule A of the IRS 1040 — no wait, that’s charity. Just isn’t quite the same.
Charity used to be Christian love and it was passed out by churches, and I think that still happens. Actually, I know it does. But we lost a good word. The modern translation says, “and the greatest of these is love,” and that’s true. It’s just not as true as before.
Now there arose a new people who knew not charity, nor whence it came.
That’s how things get lost.
Scripture from The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems Inc.
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