Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
We must learn to turn our disappointments with others into compassion for them. That’s what our Lord Jesus did when He wept over Jerusalem. We would do well to remember His Words and actions when we know He certainly could have called down lightening from heaven, right? He states in Matthew 23:37 (NIV): “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” He laments in lieu of lashing. In compassion, His holy heart wept and longed for their willingness.And, as His beloved, we are called to walk as He did - showing compassion and mercy to others as well as to ourselves – the latter oftentimes being the harder. Sometimes, we can be the hardest one’s to love, Amen? We are not worthless when we fail and neither are others. Compassion in all of life is key as we are all imperfect beings – not one of us is flawless or home with the Lord yet.
It is amazing what motivates us to act the way we do instead of being the way we are and fanning into flames the gifts He has placed within each one of us. We are all so different and if we were all the same how “vanilla ice cream” our world would be! Fears that our imperfections will be made known, a strong desire to please others and be accepted, a relentless pursuit of worldly success, afraid that if our true self is known no one will really like us, being more concerned what man thinks rather than what God does and a plethora of other things cause us to act out in ways that scream for compassion, kindness and acceptance. We seek to hide our flaws so that we may be loved and appreciated and accepted by others. Yet, imperfections are carved deeply into our stripped selves. When they are brought to light, isn’t it the compassionate we desire in our presence? Those quick to forgive and not make fun? Compassion is demonstrated when we love and embrace those who are what they actually are - flawed. Not embracing their sin rather their selves. Helping them to be more like Jesus. That is the way our Lord looks at people – He sees them in their potential – what they could be – rather than in their fleshly ways. We are children of the King. Are we perfect, no. Will we mess up again, yes. When we do, we run back to the foot of the cross for His compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness – and it is always there.
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:13 (NIV)