Compassion has started to become a catch word in society today. A few nights ago I watched a "Compassion Forum" between two people running for president. Over the past few weeks I have continually heard people talking about compassion - how we share it, how we need it, how it affects all of us.
With all this talk about compassion, I started thinking about compassion and faith - how the two are linked together. Is compassion just a catch word for the day, or is the church, and society, actually trying to find ways to move forward in being compassionate with others.
In the previous blog I mentioned the people of the street yelling at cars as they went by and how we need to develop spiritual friendships with others. After posting that blog, I heard from an old and dear friend who said, and I paraphrase, why is it that Christians need to be careful about how we proclaim Christ, yet those who are anti-Christian do not have the same worries and are not criticized as Christians are.
I thought about this a lot yesterday, and how it ties in with compassion. There is a tension between church and the secular world, and there always has been (even in the good old days). So how do we live out our faith, and the compassion we are called to have, in a world that sometimes attacks our belief systems, our faith, and even who we are as people.
For me, it all goes back to who and whose I am. I am human. I am broken. I make mistakes. I need forgiveness. I am not perfect. But I am also a new being - I am one who has been claimed and called by God as a child and a disciple. Because of my broken nature, I realize that I need the grace and compassion of God and other humans to live, grow, and share my gifts. Because of my claiming and calling by God I need love, be grace-filled, and have compassion for and with others.
And compassion is one of the hardest callings out there. To love someone who thinks, acts, believes differently than I do. To be a grace-filled person to someone who attacks what I believe, and in essence, who I am - this is not easy, and not something I can do on my own.
And then I remember the cross - I remember Jesus hanging there, about to die, saying - Father, forgive them. If Christ could forgive the people who nailed him to that tree, then Christ can, and will, help me to love, show compassion, and forgive those who annoy, attack, and are not compassionate towards me.
So I am sent to my knees. I am broken again - broken of my pride, my sin, my self-centeredness. I am broken so that I may be blessed with Christ's compassion and love again in my life. I am broken to be a light in the darkness that surrounds me and the world. I am broken to be a compassionate blessing to others.
So my prayers today revolve around being broken - may we all be broken - broken of our pride, our desire to focus on what we want rather than what God wants. May we be broken and sent to our knees to see the grace and compassion anew, and then may we be lifted up to share that grace and compassion with a broken world.