“Charity suffereth long, and is kind.”
Long-suffering and kindness are the first characteristics the Apostle Paul listed in his classic definition of charity. Long-suffering is the ability to endure in giving love, even when we may feel alone, hurt, or frustrated.
Many different situations require us to be long-suffering. Countless women in many parts of the world patiently care for ailing spouses, lovingly teach and nurture children day after day, or gently care for aging parents. All these women exemplify charity—as do women who consistently treat their families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers with kindness and respect.
“One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others,” said President Ezra Taft Benson. “He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults [and] is extended to all—to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.” (In General Conference, October 1986.)
We all have countless opportunities each day to endure and to perform acts of kindness that will make an eternal difference in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. But too often, we reserve our show of kindness for friends, neighbors, and Church members, and become impatient with those in our own homes. We should share our best selves with those with whom we associate every day.
The Savior gave us the perfect example of long-suffering and kindness. He was kind to little children, and said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. … And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14, 16.)
Jesus gave both spiritual and physical comfort to others—the masses, as well as the one. He fed the five thousand, but he also felt the touch of one small hand on the hem of his garment and healed the woman of her plague. (See John 6:5–14 and Mark 5:25–34.) Even as he was being tortured and crucified, he showed kindness and concern for his mother: “Then he saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (John 19:27.)
The effect of Christ’s kindness and long-suffering, through the healing touch of the Atonement, has the power to change our lives forever. And, when we patiently endure and show kindness to others, we are developing charity—the pure love of Christ—and are becoming more like him.
1. Relate a personal experience showing how a small act of kindness made a difference in your life.
2. Read D&C 121:41–42 and discuss how sisters can better use these qualities of influence in their lives.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 74–79; 238; 244–45 for related materials.)