Charity Suffereth Long, and Is Kind
January 1988

“Charity Suffereth Long, and Is Kind,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 70

The Visiting Teacher:

“Charity Suffereth Long, and Is Kind”

Objective: To express charity through long-suffering and kindness to others.

While the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prisoner at Liberty Jail in Missouri, suffering and treated with contempt, he cried out, “O God, where art thou?” (D&C 121:1.)

In the still, quiet voice of the Spirit, the Lord replied: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8.)

Events in our lives may not be as dramatic as those in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s life, but we may be called upon to endure trials in which we suffer and feel alone, hurt, or frustrated. At such times, we need to remember Mormon’s words: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind.” (Moro. 7:45; see also 1 Cor. 13:4.) Indeed, by patiently submitting to our trials out of love for our Father in Heaven, we grow and mature in the gospel. (See Mosiah 3:19.)

Part of that maturing process involves exercising kindness and long-suffering in our relationships with others. Countless women in the Church 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,” President Ezra Taft Benson has said. “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.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 47.)

We all have countless opportunities each day to endure and to perform acts of kindness that will make an eternal difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us. But, too often, we reserve our show of kindness for friends and neighbors and become impatient with those in our own homes. One woman found that whenever she dressed in nice clothes and made an extra effort to look her best, her family asked where she was going. She realized that she had been making more effort to look her best for friends and strangers than for her own family. She also wondered whether she had been as kind and patient with her family as she had been with those outside her home. She decided to begin to try to look and act her best with those who mattered most—her own family.

The Savior provides us with a perfect example of long-suffering and kindness. He was always kind to little children (see Mark 10:13–16), and even as he was being crucified, he showed concern for his mother: “Then he saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” (See John 19:26–27.)

During his earthly ministry, 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 the one hand on the hem of his garment when he was crowded about on every side, and healed the woman of her plague. (See John 6:5–14; Mark 5:25–34.)

Kindness is one of the most Christlike attributes we can develop. In striving to perfect ourselves, we will find that learning to love as the Savior loves is not possible without learning to be kind and long-suffering toward both the many and the one.

Suggestions for Visiting Teachers

  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 we can develop these qualities in our lives.

(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 74–79, 238, 244–45 for related materials.)

“The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter,” by James J. Tissot