Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WHAT STIRS COMPASSION WITHIN OUR OWN HEARTS?

Compassion is the magic of the church. 

Find compassion and you find life, love, and the very heart of God fleshed out in a human being.  The church thrives on compassion; but not so with every member.  If there is one word the early church seemed to possess and the modern one---in too many pockets---doesn't, it would be this one.

How shall we develop this strong and powerful trait among us?  One move will do it; we must enter into solidarity with those who suffer.  Nothing short of this will do.  We may not ever be in their physical presence; yet we must enter into their pain.

One might become aware of what keeps us at bay; judgment.  Judgment constantly created a wedge between biblical victim and unwilling helper.  The Prodigal and his brother serve as one example.  The two praying in the temple another.  Judgment unnecessarily and inaccurately separated when compassion would have endeared.

Yes, it is when we enter the streets of the pained and the poor that our hearts are stirred to action.  We all love a good story of God working.  It's when we actually touch it with our hands and see it with our eyes that we cannot seem to let the good story fade. 

This is precisely what God did.  He saw the misery and created Himself in flesh form to experience our suffering.  He never got over it........and neither will we.

2 comments:

Brian said...

To me, judgment is part of it, but I think apathy is the killer of compassion. A don't care attitude will knock it flat on its face and never have one ounce of guilt.

This blog is huge for me because I think compassion is the stuff that builds relationships and demonstrates God at the speed of live.

Just before reading your post, I walked out of the store and there was a lady whose car was broken down. I got into my car, tried to start it up, but I thought, "that could be me and I would want help." So, I got out to help.

Maybe I stoked my "feel less guilty complex," but I want to think my compassion took over for the lady.

If I have apathy, I really do know the compassion of God!

Anonymous said...

It's clear how judgement squashes compassion: they brought this on themselves, and it's not my problem.

Sometimes the judgment comes first, and leads very naturally to a lack of compassion.

Sometimes judgment is concocted as an excuse for not acting on compassion.

"What stirs compassion within our hearts?" I think you hit the nail on the head: seeing the suffering and pain of others, and not allowing judgment to crowd that out.

Of course we'll never see the suffering and pain of others if we're too self-absorbed. The brother of the prodigal son was interested only in himself.

If we're thankful for our own rebirth, then it's natural to want to see the same for others. A renewed spirit stirs compassion in our own heart, because that is the heart of Jesus, and we have the Spirit of Christ.