Charity takes many forms, dropping your spare change in a plastic cylinder at the supermarket, helping to support a child in Central America (Google Children’s International), forgiving a mistake. In my book Humanity at Work: Encouraging Spirit, Achievement and Truth to Flourish in the Workplace (Chapel Hill Press 2008) I observe that when distilled to its essence a charitable act is giving another soul a second chance.
“Of course, when the Lord dispenses second chances, what are His instruments? We are. He relies on our compassion to render second chances to those in need. If you think about it, is there anything you could bestow on a fellow traveler that is more powerful than providing a second chance? Every time you help another—be it a co-worker, a neighbor, or a perfect stranger—that is what you are doing.”
In the early 15th century Thomas a’ Kempis wrote ” We find no absolute perfection in this world; always there is a background of imperfection…” (The Imitation of Christ, Ignatius Press 1959). The spiritual implication of this timeless teaching? If you come upon someone who made a mistake, rather than being reflexively critical find a “charitable” way forward. You will be known as a great leader, a respected co-worker, a valued friend… as a person generous of heart.