Compassion

Blood-red Compassion

Through our scars we bleed blood-red compassion that brings others to know the healing that is found in Christ.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Tree, Red, Leaves, Nature, Branch – Free Image on …

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The Purpose of Scars

My son is very proud of his scars. He loves to share the stories of how they came to be, giving play-by-play accounts of how he got that scrape on his knee or the bump on his elbow. In vivid detail, he’ll describe exactly where he was on the playground, what he was doing, and how he tripped and fell or whatever other catastrophe transpired. If we’re lucky, we might get a re-enactment of the event, minus a repeat injury.

As much as he loves elaborating upon stories of his own calamities, he equally enjoys sharing how his friends got their ouchies. It’s not that he revels in their pain, but that he empathizes. When a friend gets hurt, he understands. He’s been there.

At times, I’ve seen him put his arms around the shoulder of a crying friend, sharing one of his many stories of just why he can relate to their pain.

Imagine a world void of such compassion. It’s terrible enough to suffer. And yet, to suffer alone?

Some churches falsely teach that we’ll never suffer. “Christ suffered in our place, on the cross,” they reason. “And by his wounds we are healed. Therefore, we’ll never be wounded.”

Yes, by his wounds we are healed. But have we forgotten that we also are called to be like Christ?

If he suffered, how are we to presume that we will live a life free of suffering? And if we are healed through his suffering, shall we not bring healing to others through our own suffering?

I’m not saying that we can bring the supernatural, all-consuming healing that only our Savior can bring. But I believe that through our scars we bleed blood-red compassion that brings others to know the healing that is found in Christ.

I’ve found that those who adhere to the false prosperity gospel tend to be most impoverished of compassion, judging and condemning those who endure any amount of suffering.

But I’ve also found that those of us who bear scars love on deeper levels than those who have not endured the fires of affliction.

We’re each granted our own share of battles that when we emerge victorious we might also battle on behalf of others. Financial lack frees us to empathize with those in poverty. Barrenness enables us to understand loss. Physical pain helps us to relate to those enduring far worse.

Given the choice, the selfish part of me would choose a more comfortable path. But I know there are greater outcomes when I endure the furnace of affliction with grace, allowing God to birth in me a deeper compassion through the fire.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Leaves, Autumn, Colorful, Clamp – Free Image on …

Here’s Reality

Blog_PortalOfSorrow_SenegalReality shows have risen in popularity since they hit the airwaves years ago. Now it seems there’s a reality show for everything under the sun, from singing to cooking, to singing while cooking, to underwater basket weaving. We’ve become obsessed with watching people rise and fall, get promoted and eliminated, excel and fail. All while we sit in a recliner with a bowl of popcorn and a universal remote.

People’s successes entertain us as much as their sufferings, to the point we’ve become desensitized to what’s real and what’s not. Some shows are so obviously scripted it’s comical, while others aren’t so easy to dissect. As long as we’re entertained, we don’t mind if it’s fake.

But here’s a reality that’s not glamorous. There are an estimated 29.8 million slaves in this world, today, with $150 billion made each year from forced labor. Scary thing is, this is likely a low estimate. It’s really not possible to accurately document the number of slaves and the income their work generates due to the criminal nature of harboring slaves.

You’re not gonna find a reality show about this, unless it’s an undercover report. But it’s happening every day, in our own towns, to our own children. It’s the kind of suffering we don’t want to become desensitized to, and yet the statistics beg the question: who are the consumers? If billions are made on modern slave trade, just how desensitized are we as a society?

It’s one thing to watch with a callous heart as our least favorite contestant gets eliminated from our favorite program. It’s another thing for our hearts to remain callous when we hear very real statistics about very real people in the midst of very real suffering. If we don’t like the outcome of the latest cooking contest, we can easily flip the channel. But modern slavery stares us in our face, begging a response—seeking to re-sensitize our hearts to the cry for justice. We can’t change the channel on that.

 

Photo Credit: File:Portal of sorrow-senegal-01.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Love in Action

Love is more than gapers’ emotion. It’s not a fleeting concern or a passing feeling. It’s not drive-by sensitivity. Love doesn’t just pause. It stops. It feels deeply. And it acts.

Source: Pondering Life While Stuck in Traffic

Pondering Life While Stuck in Traffic

Traffic Jam from Bing ImagesI’ve often waited in a good hour of highway traffic only to find it was due to a gapers’ delay. Miles of traffic, stretched as a crawling snake along the interstate—and all because people want to pause and look at someone else’s tragedy. What is it that draws us to the scene?

It may be that our attention is caught by the spectacle of material brevity. We see firsthand a truth long suppressed—that those things that so hold our affections could be destroyed in an instant. Beyond that is the harsh reminder of how fragile life is. We gaze at the accident site with a vague awareness it could happen to us, along with a fleeting hope we’ll be the ones to escape such a fate.

Layered beneath it all may be a degree of genuine concern. We wonder what happened, how it happened, and if those involved are okay. If we remember, we’ll check the news for updates later that day before resuming life as usual.

Our attitudes under such circumstances may translate to how we react to the tragedies we encounter in daily life. We pause, we gaze, we feel a tinge of concern…and we move on. As long as it doesn’t affect us, we’re only slightly moved, though in the end unchanged.

Love is more than gapers’ emotion. It’s not a fleeting concern or a passing feeling. It’s not drive-by sensitivity. Love doesn’t just pause. It stops. It feels deeply. And it acts.

First responders are those who demonstrate love in action—caring enough to meet the need, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man lay beaten and dying on the road as people passed him by, unmoved. Only one stopped to help, investing his time, his resources, and his very life to meet the need.

God, I don’t want my love to be a fleeting emotion. I want to feel deeply, to the point I am moved to action, whatever the cost. Give me this kind of love—a true love, filled with compassion.
 
True Love…is COMPASSIONATE (Day 41, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)