Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moved by Compassion

Psalm 116:5 (New International Version)

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

Taking time out to blog is probably one of the last things I need to be doing right now, yet I can't help it. I can't hold it in. Indeed I can not. This may not mean much to you but it means so much to me.


What comes to your mind when you think of the word?

I could give so many scenarios where the Lord has poured out compassion over this head and into the cup of my soul. He has poured out compassion with good measure. Not cheaply, but with great cost. He has poured it out like fine oil that runs over and spills out so lavishly from the throne of mercy.

With the most pitiful words I have to describe, because they don't do justice, I know what it is like to know the Compassionate One when it comes to the depths of my need. The times when the Lord saw straight to my heart, straight to my need, and within the problem opened up my eyes to the reality that He indeed has been...will be...and was always the answer.

Compassion for the sinner. Compassion for the unloved. Compassion for the hungry. Compassion for the weak. Compassion for the sick. Compassion for the blind. Compassion plenty...for you and for me.

Raham is the Hebrew word for compassion meaning: "to have compassion (as God does toward men...), to love deeply (like parents [Isa 49:15]); to demonstrate mercy, obtain mercy...Refers to a strong natural bond, often from a superior to an inferior. Small babies evoke this feeling, but heartlessness sometimes prevailed...God is gracious and merciful to whomever He chooses (Ex. 33:19). He was compassionate even with the enemies of Israel...God looked upon His own people as a father looks upon his children, with deep compassion (Mic 7:19)."

And again sorry for all of the wikipedia quotes but I really liked this definition of compassion regarding Christians:

The Christian Bible's Second Epistle to the Corinthians is but one place where God is spoken of as the "Father of compassion" and the "God of all comfort" (1.3). The life of Jesus embodies for Christians the very essence of compassion and relational care. Christ's example challenges Christians to forsake their own desires and to act compassionately towards others, particularly those in need or distress.[4] Jesus assures his listeners in the Sermon on the Mount that, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." In the Parable of the Good Samaritan he holds up to his followers the ideal of compassionate conduct.

The heritage within Western Christendom of compassion as the principle of charity has resulted in recent times in the growth of remarkable charitable phenomena such as Oxfam, Médecins sans Frontières and Live Aid with global reach and budgets of millions of dollars. True Christian compassion, say the Gospels, should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one's enemies.

So pushing pause for a minute on that...

This morning I woke up around 5 a.m. and started my day off in the word. I knew I had a jam packed day and if I was going to have one ounce of victory then I sure needed to seek the Lord. My day hits the ground running as I go to Morgans school to help out with several things. I ended up spending the whole day there. Knowing my purpose is greater than just helping the teacher or eating lunch with Morgan, I was allowed several meaningful conversations about the Lord. I thought surely that was why I was there today. Yet the real why just about floored me. It made me want to burst into tears. I also felt some pangs of hurt for someone I had never met, yet someone that was all too familiar. I am cutting away in the workroom when a little girl stops in front of the door. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Well hello!! I really like your dress.

her: Oh thank you! This is my first time to get to wear it. Isn't it pretty! (as she spun around for effect).

Me: Yes! I love it!

Then without dialogue I looked into her eyes and immediately wondered what her life was like. As I really saw her...I saw the face of so many others. Here in the doorway stood a 7 year old girl who weighed 27 pounds. I looked at her bony legs and arms and face. I secretly hoped that maybe she had a genetic disorder and surely I wasn't staring a precious child in the face that maybe only gets a meal a day...the one she has at school. I then checked out her hair and thought surely she was indeed malnourished. I quickly proceeded to find the teacher to see if my suspicion was correct.

Sure enough she has a really bad home life. How could it be? How could someone not care enough about this child? Without going into great detail, neglect is the case. I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. Why? Because this was not in Africa, or India, or Guatemala...this was in my own backyard. This was personal. As I am just going about my business, here is a precious child like my little girl, that may have circumstances that most people in Western Civilization will never deal with.

Of course I tried to find out what I could do to help her. I just can't get her out of my head...the wake-up call out of slumber.

As I saw her, asked questions to see what the reasons were another woman (which could easily be me) sat distracted by her hectic schedule, upset so much over a messed up laminated sign, that she was too distracted to take note of this little girl that is in her sons own class. That fell on me like a ton of bricks that I have been that distracted person in times of want or prosperity that is too busy to notice or too blind to see.

We don't just have compassion and then do nothing with it. The Lord has allowed those in Christ to participate in His Divine Nature and He has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness. When He was moved...He was moved to do something. He was filled and moved by compassion even in the midst of sharing in our sufferings. Faith without deeds is no faith at all. Oh that the Lord would open our eyes to not only a global awareness of spiritual and physical poverty but a local one as well. I pray for whoever reading this that the Lord will open your eyes to someone that He wants you to help even this week. That we would stop losing on the minors and focus our attention on what is a starving little child. Starved for the Lord only knows what.

Lord help us.

Isaiah 58

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April Mechelle said...

Oh Jenny,Your post touched me so much. I often wonder at all the money that America sends overseas to others. There are hungry people everywhere. Even in our own schools & cities. We are a great nation! We don't want to think that there is a need in America with all the aid that is availible. I ask...Have we turned our backs on our own children & people, that a child can be hungry? I know... It breaks my heart. Food is everywhere and this child is wanting... Compassion. You are right. It has truly made me think... Thank you

michellemabell said...

Oh I couldn't help while reading this to be reminded too of when in the Gospels, it says Jesus looked out into the crowds and was moved with compassion as to what He saw.
Yes I pray for my eyes to be open to those around me in need.

The Hoskisons said...

This reminded me of a quote I came across from a Jewish lady's blog (can't remember where)

"Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" - giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes. However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity.

The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy. The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning: Righteousness, justice or fairness.

In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving for the poor as their due."

Warren Baldwin said...

Powerful post. Yes, these situations exist all throughout America. Our church hosts a Wed night meal before Bible class for anyone to come eat. We have a bunch of kids from impoverished homes that come every WEd night. And I'm glad we can do it for them!