Compassion! Who Needs It?
“Dear Lord: As in this world I toil and through this world I flit, I pray make me a drop of oil and not a piece of grit.”
A new start…
Do you remember the day that you allowed Christ to rule and reign in your life? I do! For me it was an experience I shall never forget. Like most people I was facing challenges that seemed insurmountable. I felt and rightly so that I wasn’t able to face them alone. I had just plain run out of steam and answers. Yes, it had to come to that! After I turned my heart over to Him I remember driving in my car the very next morning. Looking out my window the sky seemed so much bluer and the grass so much greener. As a matter of fact, it was like I was seeing all of it for the very first time.
Starting from scratch…
My relationship with Christ began when I was thirty-three years of age. So many Christians, including leaders, seemed to be crowing about the fact that they came from a long and strong Christian heritage. At first I felt deprived, then I noticed something peculiar. It seemed as though some were relying on that heritage to procure a special place or privileges in the body of Christ. My conclusion was simple; while a family’s heritage in Christ is admirable, I learned that nothing could take the place of developing a vibrant personal relationship with Him. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel as though you are less spiritual because you had to start from scratch. Remember, God doesn’t have any grandchildren, only children!
A slippery slope…
A disturbing trend in the church seems to be counting possessions or wealth as a demonstration of an individual’s spirituality. This is a slippery slope, one that is dangerous on a number of levels. God wants us to prosper, I get that, but He is careful to warn us in, Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The emphasis is on seeking God first, not material possessions. Let’s check our hearts and see what we really believe. We may fool people but we will never fool God. He sees, hears and knows all. I attempt to remember this each day!
A child’s game…
Have you ever noticed that when little children want to hide they cover their eyes? Their belief is that if they can’t see you, you can’t see them. Funny, as adults we do the same thing with God! We spend so much time working on our outward appearance, our standing in society, our bank accounts and our special seats in church. All the while, who is looking at our hearts? God is looking to see what is written there. Are we more concerned about what others think, or what He thinks?
Following God, really following him, not just in word but also in action will always cost us something. Doesn’t any real relationship? For many years I heard that God had already done, accomplished or provided all that He was going to. If you found yourself in a trial, it was because you had brought it on yourself. Perhaps this is partly true. Just maybe, you have brought it on so to speak, simply because you refuse to quit in the battle for your destiny. Paddling upstream against the current towards destiny is always a much more difficult task than floating downstream going with the flow.
“Mercy saves us from what we deserve; Grace gives us what we did not deserve.”
What does criticizing others in the midst of their battle accomplish? Internal renovations are not always readily apparent on the outside. Let us not be counted as someone who jumps on the bandwagon of criticism singing the songs of judgment. I’ve gone through a number of trials in my life, most of us do! What I’ve noticed is that some people only offer to help as a pretext to finding out the gory details in order to judge and then walk away feeling superior.
Judge and jury…
Have we been created to be judge and jury of someone else’s life? How can we possibly judge another person? We don’t know what has been arrayed against them, nor all the details. Could we honestly say that we would have made better choices if we were in their shoes? When we judge others, we find ourselves on the wrong side of God. God is full of mercy, grace and forgiveness. If we fail as the church to walk in compassion, how will we ever be able to reach the world? The world is searching for demonstrated genuine love and can smell a hypocrite a mile away.
The Message translation of Matthew 7:1-5 says it best. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”
C.H. Spurgeon said,
“Those who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”
When we sit on the sidelines of life, we add nothing to the game. We will never break a sweat. We will never be weary or at odds with the majority. We will never be criticized, ostracized or demoralized. We are neither a threat to the enemy nor an asset to the kingdom. We just simply just exist!
“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”
My grandfather introduced me to boxing when I was four years old and it has always served as an analogy of life for me. One of the lessons I learned was that life was not a popularity contest. Perhaps that is why I have always fought for the underdog. My Mom raised me this way and this same sentiment has since reached my daughters as well. It is a heart of compassion that will defend the weak and less fortunate.
As a Mom what I am the most proud of in my daughters is not who they know, where they live, where they went to school or even how beautiful they are. I am most proud of the fact that they have compassion resonating on the inside of them and it freely flows out to others. What a wonderful and priceless gift!
Abraham Lincoln said,
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”
Let us dare to walk in compassion with others. Isn’t life more than “Me, myself and I?”
Lets be on the look out in order to reach someone who needs what we have today!
Warning: This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart…