Compassion or Passion – What moves you?

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“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
― Aesop

We live in a day and time where, to the visible eye, there is little compassion.  We’re very seldom moved by another person’s misfortunes to the extent of wanting to help.  You see compassion isn’t just about being conscious of someone else’s troubles, but it moves us to action in trying to help them in whatever way we can.  However, when we think about what “moves” us, we tend to think more along the lines of “passion.”  Let’s say your little boy comes home from school with a black eye.  Your first feeling as a parent is one of compassion (simply put, that feeling of sympathy for your child that has encountered some type of misfortune with a desire to alleviate their pain); however, after a minute or two this strong feeling of anger kicks in that could possibly cause us to act in a somewhat harmful way – otherwise known as passion.  As I looked up the definition of these two words, there were two words that immediately stuck out – “someone” and “something.”  Compassion is directed towards “someone”; passion is directed towards “something”.

There are several instances in the Bible where Jesus was moved with compassion.  Matthew 14:14 tells us that “Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”  If you’ll read on to verse 15, you’ll see that the disciples came to Jesus and told Him to send the people away to the villages to buy food for themselves; however, Jesus’ reply was “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.” (Amplified)  Of course we know the rest of the story – Jesus fed the multitude with just two fish and five loaves.  You see Jesus was very aware that the people had to be hungry, but instead of sending them away he was moved by compassion to meet their needs.  Compassion moved Jesus to heal the two blind men (Matthew 20:30-34) and the leper (Mark 1:40-42).  Compassion moved Him to raise the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:12-15).  It was the “someones” that moved Jesus.  It was for them that He came to “preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; . . . to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]” (Luke 4:18 – Amplified).

Unfortunately, we seem to be moved more by passion these days.  It’s all the “stuff” going on in the world that causes us to jump on our soap box and rant for a few minutes, but yet we can drive by a homeless person and maybe, just maybe, for a brief moment we might feel just a little bit of compassion, but then we wonder if they’re for real or just out begging for money.  We walk by a young pregnant girl on the street with tears streaming down her face, but we turn our head the other way because we “don’t want to get involved.”  Let’s bring it a little closer to home – we walk in church and see someone who’s obviously distressed about something, but we walk on by as if they’re not even there – “If they need to talk to somebody they’ll find someone to go to.”  All too often we have the attitude “Well they’ve made their bed, now they can lie in it,” but do we know firsthand the circumstances surrounding how that bed really got made.  We even use the Bible to back us up – “Well, you know what the Bible says, you reap what you sow.”  (Let me just say here if that’s your attitude you may want to stop and consider what seeds you’re sowing right now.)  Then there’s the all too familiar “They had it coming to them.  They got exactly what they deserved.”

Do you remember the adulteress that was brought to Jesus who was caught in the very act of adultery?  Although this was a test by the scribes and Pharisees to try to find a charge they could accuse Jesus of, the tables were quickly turned.  I believe pretty much all of the above quotes could be applied to this woman.  Yes, she was sewing some pretty bad seeds, and she might have deserved what was coming to her, but Jesus thought otherwise.  While Jesus’ words were for the accusers (John 8:7), the words to the woman, I believe, were words of compassion “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”  This is what Luke 4:18 is all about.

I dare say being moved by compassion to the point of taking action might be way out of our comfort zone, and I’ll be the first to raise my hand and confess that, yes, it would definitely be out of my comfort zone.  However, if we’re truly part of the body of Christ, then it’s our arms that should be reaching, and our hands that should be helping and our feet that should be going.  It’s our heart that should be moved with compassion, because as His body, we should have the heart of Christ.  What breaks the heart of God should break ours as well, so I’m going to put a challenge out there for me as well as you.  Be willing to move out of your comfort zone and be moved by compassion to the point of action.  It could be something as simple as just listening or offering a shoulder to cry on, or it might entail something a little bit bigger – or a lot bigger.  Just allow yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit and minister to those in need that you may come in contact with in the coming weeks.  Allow God to use you to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Are you willing to be moved by compassion?

 

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When You Hear God Say “Hello dear”

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“Hello dear.  What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know.  I can’t seem to shake this blah feeling.  I look at my life and I don’t understand what’s going on.  It’s like everything inside of me knows what to do, but the rest of me doesn’t want to follow.  Is this self-pity?  Where has the joy gone?  My favorite seasons are here and the weather has been beautiful, and instead of getting a touch of spring fever, it’s like – oh yeah.  I’ve even got my window open and hear the crickets chirping.   I think of the things I had wanted to do that seemed to be exciting and they seem to have fallen by the wayside.  There seems to be a change of direction in my life that I don’t understand and that I honestly am not really enjoying right now.  I look at a list I scribbled half-heartedly of some things I need to get done this weekend and don’t even know where to start – and there’s nothing on the list that’s going to take forever.  I know You’re with me and I know You have a plan, I guess sometimes I’d like to get just a glimpse of what that might be.

I’m trying my best not to walk in condemnation, but when I look around at my circumstances, I just see where I’ve messed up again and again and again.  Sometimes I honestly don’t know why You put up with me.

I saw a picture of my mom today and wished selfishly I had her back, even for a day, just to talk to her.  I look at my family and friends and I see where You’ve blessed them, but I also see so many uncertainties in their lives, as well.

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that You love me – more than I could ever possibly know.  I know every single word in the Bible is true.  I don’t doubt You.  I guess it’s me I doubt.  Sometimes I can envision me doing what I believe You’re calling me to do, and then sometimes it seems like only a dream.  How am I supposed to get from here to there?   I try not to be angry, but it seems like it doesn’t take much for me to fly off the handle.  My patience isn’t what it used to be.  I’m the one that could throw a line out in the surf and sit for hours (that I could probably still do).  You’ve blessed me more than I deserve, but then it’s not about what I deserve – it’s about how much You love me.

I know I can’t lose the fight within me, but sometimes I get tired of putting the devil and all of his crowd under my feet, and all that he tries to bring.  I’m quoting scripture and standing and – I’m not going to lie – trying my best to praise; and meditating on Your word seems next to impossible with all the other things vying for attention in my thoughts.  I know faith isn’t based on sight, but if I could see just something to let me know I’m on the right track, that I’m doing this right.  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing something wrong, if I’m being a hindrance to Your blessings.

I know You’re here.  I know You’ve given me Your Holy Spirit.  I know we’re in this together.  I know You’ve brought Your strengths to my weaknesses.  Just please show me if I’m doing something wrong.  I want my motives to be right.  I’ve been thinking the past couple of days about fear.  I even blogged about it.  I don’t want everything I do to be governed by fear, yet even as I sit here and think of what I’m afraid of, it’s like I don’t even care anymore.  Then I think about tomorrow and wonder if what I don’t care about tonight will surface as fear tomorrow.  So in answer to Your question, I honestly do not know what’s wrong.  Can you show me where I’ve gone wrong and what I need to do to get my joy back and my confidence and my warrior attitude?  Should I have to search Facebook or emails for inspiration to get a kick start?  I certainly hope not, because that’s what I did tonight and it sure didn’t help a whole lot.  I need You – and Your guidance.”

“Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Sometimes resting in Me feels odd because it’s not what you’re used to.  You can find joy simply by resting in Me, by simply being held by Me, and knowing I’ve got this.  We are in this together, so you need to lay down all the things you think you need to be doing, take some time to rest in My arms and just simply know that I’m here, not expecting anything from you – not tonight – but to just rest and let Me be Me, because My dear, even a warrior needs to rest.  Tomorrow’s a new day, so rest in Me and whatever comes tomorrow, we’ll handle together, and if I ever need to pick up the slack, trust Me, I will.  I love you with an everlasting love!  Sleep sweet!”

Tapping into God’s Benefit Package

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BLESS THE LORD, oh my soul!  There’s nothing like coming together as the body of Christ and worshiping and praising the Lord.  But’s there’s also something very special about those private times when we’re home alone and have our own time of praise and worship with the Father.  This past week the enemy really came against me in a couple of areas in my life, and I spent a lot of time fighting the good fight of faith.  I truly believe praise is powerful.  The scripture in Romans 4:20-21 came to mind which says “No unbelief or distrust made him (Abraham) waiver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what he had promised.”  (Amplified)

I was walking around my house praising the Lord and something inside me was trying to make it unique and “my own” and I tried making up my own songs, and then all of a sudden the first few phrases from “10,000 Reasons” came to mind.  I began to sing those few lines “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul, and worship His holy name, sing like never before, oh my soul, and worship His holy name” over and over and over.  Psalm 103 says “Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, oh my soul; and all that is (deepest) within me, bless His holy name!” (Amplified)  As I kept singing that over and over, I could feel that deepest part within me start to well up inside and it was like literally every part of my being was praising the Lord!  The tears began to flow and it was like there was a moment of brokenness followed by a feeling of total victory!!!  I don’t feel like these words adequately describe what happened, but I have to say it was an incredible experience!

I began to reflect on Psalm 103 and actually laid my Bible on my bed opened to that passage and every time I walked by it, I read those scriptures (versus 1 through 5):  “Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits – Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!”

Then I began to make it personal – “You have forgiven every one of all my iniquities, You have healed each one of all my diseases, You have redeemed my life from the pit and corruption (my interpretation of this is any destruction the enemy may try to bring), You have beautified, dignified and crowned me with Your loving-kindness and tender mercy; and You have satisfied my mouth with good so that my youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s (strong, overcoming and soaring!”  I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of benefits that touch just about every part of our lives.  I would encourage you to tap into those benefits that the Lord has provided you with!  When a company provides a benefits package to their employees, they’re provided for the benefit of the employee; they’re provided from the employee to USE!  These benefits from God belong to us.  They are for our benefit and when the enemy comes against us we can stand on the Word of God and remind the devil, as well, of all that God has provided us with.

What are you doing with God’s benefit package?