Sometimes we hear or say, “I don’t want your pity,” or, “I don’t need your charity.” Pity and charity are not bad, and needing them isn’t bad either. Somehow these two good words have developed a negative connotation.
If you look up the etymology of Pity and Charity, you find that they’re based on being merciful, loving, kind, and compassionate to others. At one time, the words pity and piety were hardly distinguished from each other. At one time, charity had a particular connection to Christian love in its highest expression. Pity isn’t just feeling bad for someone, it’s feeling moved to do something about it. Charity isn’t just donating to people, it’s a way of loving people through helpfulness and kindness.
Pity is active sympathy, charity is active love.
Sometimes you and I are going through a hard time and need someone to feel sympathetic towards us and to show love to us by helping us. Sometimes someone else is going through a hard time and they need someone to feel sympathetic towards them and to show them love by giving help. Sometimes we’re all in need of some pity and charity.
As Christians, God has called us to be easily moved to pity and charity. We are to be easily moved to active sympathy and active love towards others. God Himself has taken pity on and showed charity to everyone when He gave us Jesus, so why shouldn’t we have pity and charity for each other?