Monday, May 27, 2013

Compassion

I was born with a nurturing and tender heart.  When I was around 8, I remember catching a breathtaking monarch butterfly and putting it in a jar, only to find that it had died one morning.  I felt so incredibly guilty that I had kept that butterfly so cooped up, that I killed it.  I bawled my head off and gave the delicate creature a proper burial; complete with a never-ending fountain of tears, and a floral burial cloth. 

Tenderness is something God has infused in me, almost from infancy, and recognizing it as a gift solely from Him, I endeavor to protect it most ardently... which is the reason I feel so concerned.

I'm not sure why, but lately I have been bothered tremendously by the amount of hard-heartedness I see.  I feel overwhelmed with calloused, abrasive, cold and genuinely *hard* people.  Maybe it's working in the retail world-- maybe it's an edge that is easily developed when individuals go into survival mode-- maybe it's something I'm hyper sensitive to from being around the coldness of fundamentalism; I'm not entirely sure.  But I do know, that I find myself constantly praying the Lord will protect me from such a spirit.

I've seen this type of compassion-less nature utterly permeate fundamental circles.  I've watched as hurting people who desperately need the grace of Jesus ministered to their wounds, are given judgmental stares and are haughtily placed beneath the feet of those who believe they are sufficiently more righteous.  I feel so sorry for the people who suffer at the hands of such stoney hearts; but more than that, I weep for the people who possess the stoney hearts!  Because the Lord promises to take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh!  Tender, gentle hearts... and even though it is a process that God has to accomplish in us gradually, those who have been shown the great mercy we receive in redemption, should be able to show great mercy to others.  It burdens me to see so many people trying to earn their salvation and trying to atone for their sins through a lifestyle.  It is such a poor testimony to lost souls.  

I don't want to be the kind of person who guilt trips others into being Christians.  I want to be the kind of person, who shows so much love, that others can't help but see the love that I have been shown in Christ Jesus. 

So often we get wrapped up in our own little worlds, and totally forget the amount of suffering that is taking place around us.  I don't want to be the kind of person who only sees the issues that are affecting me.  I want to be the kind of person who is constantly looking around me to see how the grace of our Savior can be applied to wounded hearts and souls.  I don't want to get tangled up in being financially successful, or socially known and loved, or be someone who only cares about recognition and being accepted and loved by peers. 

That isn't what is important. 

I don't want to be the type of human being, who gets caught up in fame and notoriety and wealth... I want to be able to only care that the love of the Gospel was shown in every place I was ever in and truth was declared whenever my mouth was opened.  Even though I am in the place that God wants me to be now, I feel Him preparing my heart for something else and stirring my spirit to do greater things.  I just need to be patient and let Him accomplish it in His timing.

This life isn't about *just us*.  The scope is infinitely more vast and reaching than we can fathom.  As the redeemed, our lives are about the harvest of lost souls, the sanctification of Christ's Bride and the glory of our Risen Lord.  Tunnel vision is an easy thing we fall into and one that is detrimental to the work that is supposed to being accomplished.

May God instill in all of us, spirits that are easily broken and hearts that are ever tender towards suffering and overwhelmed by the love of the Gospel. 

2 comments:

Jerry said...

Yes.

Joenne said...

This is very good, Shelby. As Christians, we need to examine whether we have a desire to share Christ, or just our lifestyle with others.