Both the Apostle Paul and the prophet Mormon said that charity “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (See 1 Cor. 13:4–6; Moro. 7:45.) We know that in mortality, “there is an opposition in all things.” (2 Ne. 2:11.) But why do Paul and Mormon contrast iniquity with truth? Why don’t they say that charity “rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in goodness”?
The scriptures give us the answer. In Doctrine and Covenants 93, we read that “light and truth forsake that evil one” (D&C 93:37) and that the “wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth” (D&C 93:39). Deuteronomy 32:4 [Deut. 32:4] tells us that God is “a God of truth and without iniquity.” As iniquity thrives, truth dies; as truth flourishes, iniquity loses power.
Thus, in seeking righteousness and truth, we gain more light and truth (see D&C 93:28) and become more Christlike. The scriptures tell us that Christ is “the light of truth” (D&C 88:6) and that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36).
To seek truth and avoid iniquity, we should examine our actions. Do we allow ourselves to view portrayals of iniquity on television, in movies, or in books?
Criticism may also be a way of rejoicing in iniquity. One woman worried about her family’s inclination to criticize. That particular day, her ten-year-old son had said his younger brother “was like a girl,” and her husband had called their teenagers hard to live with. She herself had chastised her daughter for not cleaning the bathroom, saying, “Why don’t you obey me the first time I tell you to do something? Can’t you do anything right?”
The woman knew that she couldn’t alter the relationships in her family by herself. But there was much she could do to focus on the truth that each family member is a child of God who deserves respect and kindness. She praised family members often. In family prayer, she thanked Heavenly Father for each one, acknowledging the contributions each made. She tried being more positive and less critical herself. After a few weeks, she found that her efforts were working. Family members were less negative, and they were learning to help each other more.
To rejoice in the truth, we must be careful in our use of it. Gossiping or talking about someone’s sins or shortcomings separates us from God and may even keep us from loving and fellowshipping those who need it most.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, “It is wrong to make statements of fact out of an evil motive, even if the statements are true. … One who focuses on faults, though they be true, tears down a brother or a sister. … Even though something is true, we are not necessarily justified in communicating it to any and all persons at any and all times.” Ensign, February 1987, page 69.)
As we accept truth, we become more Christlike and learn to feel charity, the pure love of Christ, for all our brothers and sisters.
1. Discuss how we might refrain from rejoicing in iniquity, and how we can rejoice in the truth.
2. Share an experience when you used the truth to help build someone up, or ask the sister you visit to do so.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pages 15, 257–59, and 265–320 for related materials.)