Being More Compassionate

Being a caregiver requires compassion. The home health nurses that have come in throughout the week to check on my Mom have each clearly demonstrated their empathy, care and concern for my Mom as she recovers from her fall.

Me and Mom the Challenger

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

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Compassion is something I see firsthand every time our 4th Friday outreach group travels down to the Union Gospel Mission Dallas to sing, share the Gospel, and pray with the men. It’s the oldest ministry of our home church (Trinity Bible Church Richardson) and thus sets the tone for what our church is all about. Our leadership believes in equipping the saints for the purpose of doing ministry in the world we inhabit. Our church body strives to see people grow closer to God and grow closer to others. Why? Compassion

You see, as a believer, I want you to know what I know. I want you to experience what I have experienced.  What is that? The compassion of God. Compassion is part of God’s nature and character. It forms the essence of who God is. I am led to be compassionate because God first showed compassion to me. The same is true for you.

Compassion is Shared.

Compassion is a human quality as well as a divine quality. Compassion refers to the tender mercies we show one another and that God pours out on us. Because of the mercy God shows us, we are fueled to demonstrate compassion.  Think of it—when you were your worst self, did the Lord not shower you with His tender mercies?  What greater demonstration of love exists than the compassion our heavenly Father showed us through providing atonement for our sins through His son, Jesus Christ? Jesus, in emptying himself of all that is rightly his all to die a sinner’s death on a Cross although He himself had no sin, is the greatest of all tender mercies. The Holy Spirit, groaning and praying on our behalf provides us with daily mercies. In response, we must share the compassion shown to us with those in our lives who need it, freely giving what is given freely to us.

Rice Laying Next to Danny's Ashes

The Scriptures make it abundantly clear in Deuteronomy that God expects His people—the Hebrews— to demonstrate compassion to each other and to the foreigners living among them. This concept was clear to the prophets and the men of God. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches His disciples to show compassion towards anyone needing help. The lesson of compassion taught by Christ to his disciples is something that we as 21st century believers are expected to practice as well. After all, we are imitators of Christ.

Colossians 3:12-17The Message (MSG)

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

How can I help you?

Back when I worked at Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, I had the privilege of working with a guy named Rick Sanders. Rick would always ask people “How can I help you?” People loved that about Rick and loved Rick because of his show of concern for them. The world didn’t begin and end with him, but with them. His care for others is what made him a great leader.

Having compassion is not a difficult concept to grasp. It simply means that we have a sympathetic empathy and concern regarding the sufferings and misfortunes of others. It requires we live prayerful lives and nurture hearts of gratitude. To be compassionate, we must take our eyes off ourselves and try to see others for who they are and be prepared to meet them where they are—not where we think they should be. Bad things happen to people. The causes vary. But in their moment of need, we must be less concerned with what got them there and more invested in how we can help them where they are in the moment of their greatest need. Talk is cheap. Compassion endears us to others because how we treat others is what they will remember about us the most, long after our words have grown silent.

com·pas·sion

[kəmˈpaSHən]

NOUN

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others:

synonyms: pity · sympathy · empathy · fellow feeling · care · concern · solicitude · sensitivity · warmth · love · tenderness · mercy · leniency · tolerance · kindness · humanity · charity

Compassion can change lives in a heartbeat

When it comes to homeless folks, I have compassion for these men, women, and children who struggle to have the basic necessitates of life that I tend to take for granted every day. My heart fills with compassion when I have the privilege of praying with a man possibly breathing his last breath or a child who has lost all hope.

It is that same compassion that drives Sweet T and I’s love for the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. You see, tonight, there are children who don’t know love at all. They don’t know that God loves them. They don’t know that you or anyone loves them. Their existence is hard. Their life expectancy is low. Their expected contribution to society is questionable. But it doesn’t have to be so. Compassion changes lives.

Me and T at the Ball Game

Our compassion can grow.

We can learn to be more compassionate by doing acts of kindness, by caring for others, by expressing our concern for one another. Acts of compassion fuel more acts of compassion. This is something that I have witnessed these past few weeks, taking care of Mom. Being a caregiver is not easy. The nurses that do this work for a living have shown me the definition of tender mercy through their loving kindness and acts of compassion in helping my Mom as she recovers. My wife, Sweet T, has demonstrated this as she has stayed strong and stood tall during this difficult time in our lives.

Their compassion makes me grateful. Their example makes me desire to practice greater compassion and be more caring. Tender mercies are something we could all use a little more of in this world we live in. I pray my compassion for others grows.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

home-office-336378_1920 grunge

God Won’t Give You More Than HE Can Handle

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is flat out overwhelming.  Numerous times I have heard people claim that God never gives us more than we can handle. Which sounds nice and is meant to be encouraging, but unfortunately isn’t true. You may just not have lived long enough.

For the Lord, nothing is impossible. Jesus reminds us all we need is faith like a mustard seed to move mountains. In those overwhelming moments, we must let go and hang on to God. He alone can calm the storms. He alone can still the waters. God is able when we are unable. His strength sustains us and pulls us through difficult, challenging times. And you can be sure, believer or not, you’ll face difficulties in this life.

Life is not for the faint of heart.

Honestly, I’m not sure how people get through life without faith. I know it’s only by God’s grace that I survived to see another year.

Foggy Morning Breakdown

While my virtual technology teammates and I were catching up on how things were progressing with my Mom, one of them shared a story about a man who was walking the desert, when he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. He determined one set was his and one set was God’s. The man hit a rough patch, and found himself without food and water. In his moment of greatest need,  the man noticed only one set of footprints in the sand. God had him. 

God carries us through the valleys.

Mom and Flowers

Amid our moments of crisis, the world keeps spinning. Unlike sports, life doesn’t come with TV commercial timeouts. We must depend on God and be willing to lean on others. When we do this, we will be rewarded with the acts of loving-kindness from our family, our friends, and our neighbors. We even experience complete strangers showing us the goodness of God through their actions to help us get through a rough patch. With God, we never have to do anything alone. He’s our ever-present helper, especially in times of trouble.

God is our refuge and our strength.

As my late, great friend Pastor Mark Jones would say “Don’t forget in the Darkness what God revealed to you in the Light.”

And it’s true. We can depend on God. He never gives us more than HE can handle.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)

Faithfully,

RB