Charity is something more than mere kindness. It is not a beggar's dole that we offer and then pass on and forget. It is not mere composition based on feeling of superiority, as though conferring some favour. It means tolerance. Compassion, a patient sympathy for the failings and errors of others, is large-hearted concession to the weakness. It is the spontaneous overflow of our sense of humanism. It tells: "Be to their virtues very kind; be to their failings little blind." It is one of the noblest of virtues.
Hence, charity is not easy to practice. Man is by nature egotistical. Whatever is most unlike him naturally rouses his ill will. That is why there is so little of tolerance and so much of faultfinding in the world. Such men can never cultivate charity. They may throw a coin to the needy while looking down on him. A man that is cold and unmoved to pity can make only formal charity, probably for self-publicity.
Charity can never by practiced so well as in one's home, in one's daily dealing with those near about. One can never be patient and forbearing with others unless one is able to cultivate this attitude at home. It is certainly very much easier to bear with the foibles of those whom we love. So charity is best practiced with them. Once we begin to cultivate sympathy with our kith and kin, we will find it easier to do so with others. The home is the centre, and so let the goodness that is within us radiate from the centre in ever- winding circles. Once we begin with our homes, we can gradually extend scope of our charity till it includes our neighbours, our fellow-workers, our people, and so on.
Unfortunately, it often happens that though charity begins at home, it tends to end there. The proverb warns us against this. The home is the origin; the whole world is the limit. But an exception must be made. Charity begins at home, of course, but surely not with oneself. One must be charitable to the whole world.
Essay on Charity begins at home