Compassion. Just what is it? Is it sympathy? Or is it something more. According to the Family Word Finder, a thesaurus, compassion can be defined as "tenderheartedness." Compassion is feeling the pain of others, and going beyond self to try and heal suffering, without judgement. I believe this is a rare virtue. However, our best example of this kind of compassion is Jesus.
When Jesus was faced with a woman taken in the very act of adultery, instead of staring at her or distaining her, He showed compassion.
"Then neither will I condemn you." There stood the Son of God, averting His eyes, so that He would not add to her shame. How can I not love a God like that?
When He was at the well with the Samaritan woman, did He rant and rave a sermon? And tell her what an adulteress she was? No, He did not. He simply told her about her life. He read her soul, and her heart responded. To this day, there are Christians in the Middle East who trace their faith back to the Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus made it very clear that we are not to judge. And the Apostle Paul stated that he was not concerned with the behavior of the world, but he was concerned with the behavior of the Church. If you are a Christian, that's you and me.
So, why is it that the attitudes of Christians, in this day, are ones of judgement? Why are conservative Christians, as I am, loud, noisy, even rude? I look at some of my fellow evangelicals, and I think, our attitudes are what gives Christianity a bad name. Why is that? Why have we become so shameful?
Where is our compassion? Where is our decision to follow Christ? When were we elected to judge our neighbors? And just who IS my neighbor? Well, Jesus told us the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who was shunned and judged as an outcast from society. So, what is wrong with us, that we look upon the outcasts of today, without pity?
Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to desire no will of my own. Hold up the mirror of your perfect example, and open my heart that I may cast aside my pride. May I love others as you have loved me. May I see myself through your eyes, and may I become a compassionate Christian, just as you desire of me.
Thursday, September 04, 2008