Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Be kind and compassionate

Submitted by David Miller
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32
Jesus had compassion on people.  He considered them as lost sheep in need of a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 says, Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.  He taught His followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them Matthew 5:44, But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  He even gave up His own life so that we, who had sinned against God, could be forgiven Romans 5:8-11, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
So this begs some questions.  How do we view one another?  Do we view them as lost sheep like Christ did or do we look at them as if their needs are not as important as our needs?  That a particular person is not “within our scope of ministry” or they are not in our Sunday school class or small group?  Do we find ourselves looking the other way rather than compassionately reaching towards the needs of others? 
God calls us all to have compassion for one another.  He doesn’t give us permission to
pick and choose who we demonstrate our compassion towards.  Christ gave us the perfect example of an all-inclusive compassion when He sacrificed His own life on the cross.  We, as Christians, should personify His love and compassion; otherwise, our witness is in vain.  I like the way The Message puts it in John 13:34-35, Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
If we start from a place of compassion, where we have empathy for others, we will see how the world looks from where they are standing.  By better sensing their struggles, pain, insecurities, and fears, we gain a better chance of pouring the love of Christ into them. 
In the not so theological movie, Bruce Almighty, towards the end of the movie we find him praying a simple prayer for his girlfriend Grace.  He simply asks God to let him see Grace the way God sees her, through His eyes. 
Do we want to show compassion the way Christ did?  Then we simply ask God to allow us to see others the way He does, through His eyes.  It will change our perspective and our heart.  What better compassion can there be than that which flows from Christ, into us, and then through us to a lost world.  That is authentic ministry.

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