Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Compassion anyone?

Compassion seems to be missing. This may be considered a little soap box to some, but to me....it is deeply rooted in my heart. Over the many years in and out of different ministries, states, acquaintances, and paths of life, the Lord has instilled in me a desire to love people. Don't get me wrong...I have not arrived and I still fall short on a daily basis even within the four walls of my own home. It is a struggle to be patient and look past the faults and failures of others and love them despite them. Yet, I fear our churches, our children, and we as adults are missing what compassion truly is.

True Compassion is seeing others through the eyes of Jesus. It's looking past that crazy outfit, those perpetual lies, different looks, unkind words, mean spirits, disobedient and rebellious attitudes, and seeing them as someone who Jesus loves. It's seeing them as someone whom He came to earth to die for despite their sin. It is seeing them as a soul who longingly wants to be loved no matter their imperfections.
I remember many years ago being told by someone that we were wasting our time investing in a particular individual's life. She said, "I don't know why you bother, he will never change!" I stood there as a teen in complete disbelief. Really? you are telling me I'm wasting my time loving a child? He was a trouble maker in every step of the way, but to me, he was just another hurting child who needed to feel like he belonged and was loved by someone. What better place to be loved on than in church? It was a crucial lesson I learned early on and begged Jesus to instill in me a heart full of compassion no matter what.

Friends, our churches, homes, workplaces, and schools are filled with individuals hurting and searching for something or someone to invest in their life. It could be as simple as a "hello" as you pass them in the hall. Or it could be a cup of coffee and a small Bible study in your living room. I have never met an individual who doesn't want a friend. Our culture has become a fast paced, phone addicted, non-relationship oriented community. It is alarmingly sad. Will our children become even worse than us? Or will they see their parents/grandparents/friends loving like Jesus and investing in people's lives in a way that will impact eternity?

So, let's bring it to our level...

How many within your church have missed multiple services due to illness or simply being unable to venture out? How many of those sweet friends have you reached out to reassuring them that they are missed, important, prayed for and loved?
I remember as a little 3rd grader having the very best Sunday School teacher one could ask for! If I missed I'd receive a sweet little card and a piece of candy in the mail the very next week saying that I was missed and I was being prayed for daily. You know what? the greatest thing about all of that to my little 3rd grade heart was that I felt LOVED! I will never forget the impact that teacher had on me throughout the years because she lived and loved like Jesus. And, this hits closer to home for me too, because a sweet older lady did this to one of my children recently and my 7 year old looks to her as her best friend. She knows she is loved even when she's far away. It is an impact!!
Maybe your neighbor has had a death in the family and could just use a word of encouragement, a hot meal, or a knock on the door reassuring them that you care!
Perhaps there is that individual that you have think you have nothing in common with. They are lonely and have no dear friends in the area. You will never know what that invitation to your Easter dinner would do to encourage them.
Or, maybe there is that mom of littles who just seems too busy to get together. Yet, she is hurting, overwhelmed, and could really use another momma to talk to.
Maybe your pastor's wife appears to have it all together. Might I say, she doesn't....she struggles too...she isn't perfect....she needs a friend.
Maybe that man just needs a godly man to talk to, get encouragement from, study God's Word with, or just know he is prayed for?

Investing in lives may to some be considered work. And, sometimes it is, but often it is just looking past our form of comfort and seeing a need and, upon seeing that need, you act on it! Bake cookies for the elderly couple down the street. Take your children to deliver them and help them with yard work or just sit and talk. Invite a group of young moms and children over for a play date and mini Bible study. Make a phone call or drop a note or a facebook message to someone you haven't seen in a while. Make dinner, have a game night, babysit another's children so the parents can go on a date, go clean someone's house, help your friend paint that room she needs done, give a simple hug, and, most of all, SMILE! Be real with people! Not one of us has attained perfection.😊 You can read my post on transparency here.

I am eternally grateful for those who have invested in my life throughout the years. They have loved me despite my failures and shortcomings. They have challenged, encouraged, rebuked, and loved me to the point that I can say I see Jesus in them. May we each take a moment this week to look past the comforts of our own life, look past the trials we are pushing through, look past the crazy schedules and take time to reach into someone's heart and encourage them and love them like Jesus!  My momma has been a huge impact on my life in every way. While I was growing up I watched carefully as she seemed to consistently be reaching into someone's life for the purpose of loving them like Jesus. She has seen much, been through more trials than can be explained, and has many times been hurt by people. But, she never stopped loving those who failed her. She actively became part of people's lives and showed them the love of Jesus no matter what! I am encouraged and challenged by her genuine example.

Many years later that troubled little boy reached out to me via facebook and thanked me for not giving up on him and loving him by picking him up for church every week. He spent several years serving Jesus on the mission field. No, not every story turns out that way, and we may never know the impact our acts of kindness have on others here on earth. But, may it be said of us that as we love, we realize that we are planting seeds of Christ's compassion in each individual that crosses our path. Can others say that "they see  Jesus in you?"

Love like Jesus today, sweet friends!