Posts Tagged ‘Denver shooting’

I’ve had to reprocess my thoughts on compassion lately due to some driven-home messages God has subtly planted in my brain as well as my heart.  My top definition for compassion has always been feeling sorry for someone.  Over the years I’ve learned that means putting yourself in their shoes, feeling their pain, and reaching out in love to offer comfort.  I believe those points are accurate.

What was brought home to me recently is the lesson on extending compassion when I don’t feel compassionate.  Kind of like loving your enemy when you don’t.  It’s easy to be compassionate toward a hungry child, a weeping mother, a struggling father.  It’s simple to offer a cup of cold water or a warm hug.

What isn’t so easy is putting an arm around the one who keeps striking out at you and has actually done some pretty serious damage.  I’ve experienced a situation recently in which people who once loved us and would do anything to build us up turned and began to try to destroy us.  Christian people using very unchristian methods and saying very unchristian things. 

I worked through the anger.  I came to the acceptance of letting it go and moving on.  I vowed not to talk about it or allow myself to get dragged into it in any way shape or form.  I moved on.  I began to embrace the beautiful things God was doing in spite of them.  I even thanked God for the time of testing and strengthening. 

But I did not have compassion on them.  This morning I read the 13th chapter of 2 Kings.  The chapter begins with the story of King Jehoahaz who “reigned seventeen years.  He did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat.”  By verse 4 Jehoahaz has seen the error of his ways and sot God’s favor.  God gave it and the people escaped from the power of the King of Aram.  But the people “did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam.”  The story goes on to tell of Jehoash who became king and reigned sixteen years.  “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” 

Finally, in verse 23, about the time you expect God to smite the people for their years of bad behavior it says “the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Now that’s compassion.  Godly concern from a God who had been denied, ignored, and sinned against time and time again.  All because of His covenant with their ancestors. 

Did I not make a covenant with my Lord when I asked him to live in me?  Do I not seek Christlikeness?  There is a kind of love only Christ can put in my heart that transcends any evil done against me.  God’s heart is broken over every kind of ache or brokenness His children suffer.  He does not have levels of compassion.  It is poured out in equal doses to everyone. 

Today the people in Denver are in pain and mourning a great tragedy in a movie theater and I am moved to tears though I don’t know any of them personally.  Today also, people I do know personally are in pain and striking out in anger, hurt and bitterness.  God’s tears flow at the same rate for the broken people in both situations. 

That is a depth of compassion I am only beginning to explore.  My deep felt prayer is that God will pierce my heart today and everyday with a shard of that level of compassion for the people I would love to hate but know I am called to love.

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: