After describing the characteristics of charity, including suffering long and enduring all things, Mormon followed up in the same way that the apostle Paul did in his first epistle to the Corinthians. He said, “Charity never faileth” (Moroni 7:46). (See 1 Corinthians 13:8.) Paul contrasted charity with several gifts of the Spirit— prophecies, tongues, and knowledge—indicating that all three had time-bound utility, but that charity would never become obsolete. Mormon went further, saying, “All things must fail—but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever” (Moroni 7:47).
I’ve been thinking today about the meaning of the phrase “charity never faileth.” Here are three possible meanings of the phrase:
1. You can have confidence in your acts of charity.
The first meaning is this: charity really works in the end. Don’t hesitate to speak charitable words and give charitable service, even if it feels awkward or if you doubt it will be effective. Believe that it will work in the end if it is motivated by sincere love.
Michelle Craig shared a story about a church member who decided to sew a tie for church president Spencer W. Kimball. She lived in his neighborhood and walked the tie over to his home to give it to him. When she arrived, she had second thoughts and almost walked away, but Sister Camilla Kimball came to the door and gave her some wise advice: “Never suppress a generous thought.”
Sister Craig went on to say:
Whether they are direct promptings or just impulses to help, a good deed is never wasted, for “charity never faileth”—and is never the wrong response.“Divine Discontent,” General Conference, October 2018
2. God will always love us.
Mormon said that charity is the pure love of Christ. Another interpretation of the phrase “charity never faileth” is simply that God’s love will always be there for us.
Bonnie D. Parkin testified:
Our Heavenly Father loved us before we came to this earth. I know that He loves us, sisters, as does His Son, Jesus Christ. That love will never change—it is constant. You can rely on it. We can trust it….
We must believe that the love of Christ will never fail us.“Eternally Encircled in His Love,” General Conference, October 2006
3. When we emulate God’s love, we don’t give up on others.
Just as God’s love is permanent and reliable, we should also continue to love others, even if that love doesn’t appear to be appreciated for a long time.
Susan W. Tanner said:
Love endures through the hardships of life….
I watched a mother’s enduring love for her alcoholic son. She never gave up praying for him and being available for him. In his later years, he finally “came to himself” (Luke 15:17), kept a respectable job, and used his mechanical skills to fix up his mother’s house.“Did I Tell You,” General Conference, April 2003
Today, I will strive to apply the principle “charity never faileth.” I will have confidence in the effectiveness of my acts of service. I will trust that God’s love is unchanging. And I will strive to replicate that unchanging love in my love for others.