To: Machiavelli From: Christianity

To: Machiavelli From: Christianity

Thanks for telling us we're born evil.
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“To live charitably means not looking out for your own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weak and the poorest among us,” says Pope Francis. However, I would like to contend with this idea of charity not being a self-interested act. Humans, at their core, are self-seeking - a thought inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli, a critical Italian philosopher. Charity is an extension of the latter three of a group of Greek inspired, levels of affection, epithyimia, eros, and agape, because it creates a beneficial relationship for both parties, where the giver expresses agape love as they attend to the receiver’s needs; the giver also expresses eros love because they desire to possess this importance and affirmation which the receiver’s gratitude conveys. Humans desire having an ontological rootedness to this world, they want to know that they belong; charity is the act of giving self or giving of self, in order to build the relationships which ontological rootedness and affirmation grow from . Human beings are selfish at their core and, for example, volunteer not only for the charitable act of it, but to reaffirm their goodness.

On the other hand, Christianity takes charity as a form of love. Christianity venerates the virtue of charity and the act of giving either one’s time or one’s self into someone because it is a way to reciprocate God’s love for us. Agape love is a step up from eros love because we are not loving the other for our own sake, but for theirs; it is typically those two types of love which can be associated with volunteering and philanthropic actions. Christian love in action combines these two to form philia love, as it forces the giver to neglect their selfishness and own needs so they may prioritize the other’s. People “who live in spiritual poverty freely choose to share and to do without for the sake of others,” are examples of extreme Christian love; the Sisters of Charity forsake their needs so that everyone may equally benefit from their profits. However, on a civilian level, Christian love is typically expressed on an agent commitment level, where the person chooses to put the needs of others on the same level of need as theirs.

In a way, expressing Christian love is also expressing charity because Christian love demands the giver to sacrifice more than what they can benefit out of that relationship. Charity in relation with others dictates that the giver must adopt a sense of preferential preference for the poor. However, poor in this sense does not necessarily mean poor in income; it can be poor in spirit, support, and even companionship. When we are charitable to others, we are dedicating our time and efforts to them without expecting much in return; we prioritize their needs over ours and develop a relationship akin to agape love. Charity in terms of a relationship with God, is different, because there is no expectation to be made of him - he has already given us the greatest gift which is eternal life. Therefore, to show appreciation and reciprocate such a tremendous show of love, we must be very charitable with others to show our gratitude. For agape love, which is the sum of philia and eros love, is the type of love we must incorporate into our relationships with others as they are created in the image of God.
Cover Image Credit: Taha Alkan

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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