Today’s post is chock full of stuff. I had all of these thought about compassion last night, and wanted to write about it. I also felt it necessary to write about my gift of empathy, and how I found my purpose in God. It’s a lot of information but it all ties in together, so I can’t write about one without the others. So, sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and get comfortable and ready to read.
A little background on me before I dive into the discussion. I’m highly sensitive (an HSP), and an empath. I am an empath, gifted by the grace of God, with the ability to read emotions and feel what another is feeling. If you read my previous blog, you will see that I recently suffered a very severe bout of depression. This is the one drawback of this gift: we sometimes care too much, to the point of where it begins to affect our own lives and our own spirituality. We get tired. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Sometimes we break down. I did just that. Being an empath has been a major part of my life since I was a young child. I didn’t know what it was back then, actually I didn’t know until the last few years! I always just thought I was different, oversensitive, too emotional, hyper-aware, etc. I don’t talk to dead people, I can’t predict the future, but when I am in someone’s presence, I can feel everything they are feeling. If you are angry, in physical or emotional pain, in need of help, or whatever the case may be, chances are I can tell. It doesn’t work with everyone and I have been wrong more than once. But I’ve been right, far more often. It has protected me when I was in the presence of someone who meant me physical harm, caused me to reach out to someone who I felt needed help, and has even alerted me on who to avoid because they were sinister or could influence me negatively. So, given all of this, it is natural for me to be compassionate. It is second nature to me.
So, what is compassion? A quick Google search can show you ten different definitions. I’m going with Merriam-Webster’s definition: Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it. Say what? Basically, it means you feel sorry for others going through a hard time and you want to help them through it. Right? Some might say we all have that to an extent and I agree, to an extent. We are made in God’s likeness, and there is no one more compassionate than God. But, I know quite a few humans who don’t seem to have an ounce of compassion for anyone other than themselves. Narcissist, anyone?
So, what does it mean to show compassion for others? It is not always enough to feel the compassion, but we have to act on it. Especially as a Christian. Praying for others is an act of compassion that all Christians should do. When I think of God and His compassion for us, it can be overwhelming!! Here are a few examples of how I think He showed His compassion for us.
- The first and most obvious, John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loved us so much and wanted us to have a chance to know Him personally, instead of having an intermediary priest like in the old days of Mosaic Law. He wanted us to love Him out of desire for that relationship, and seek Him and His guidance in all things.
- Jesus (who is God in human form) said, in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus came to serve us, who aren’t worthy of His grace, to give His own life as a permanent sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was the only human who was sinless. He was, after all, fully human but fully God. Under old Mosaic Laws an animal blood sacrifice was necessary as a sin offering. But, God knew it could never be a permanent solution because an animal is not the same as a human, thus an animal’s blood can not ever fully atone for a human’s sin. This was why Jesus came to us, fully aware of what would happen. He knew He would die, and He willingly went to His death to give us a chance to have that relationship with him that the Israelites never could. He felt compassion and gave us a permanent resolution.
- In Mark 12:29-31 , Jesus was asked by His followers , what was His most important commandment? Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”… This was Jesus telling us to have love and compassion for others.
To love someone so much that you are willing to be mocked, beaten, abused, and executed, just to ensure their spiritual salvation?….Let’s face it. Not many would be willing to do that for another. I love my kids. I would face all of that and more in order to protect them. But would I do that for a stranger? I can’t honestly say that I would. I would like to think I would, but the truth is, I don’t really know. This is how the explanation of God’s true compassion for us was revealed to me. In order to show true compassion like Christ did, we must be willing to do whatever is necessary for one another. Easier said than done, though, eh?
So then, how can we show our love for our fellow human through compassion? God is not asking us to act as a human shield for everyone (Translation: Don’t go throwing yourself in front of a bus for someone while claiming I told you God said to do that – He didn’t!). That is not what God expects. What He expects is for us to love one another, as if we were that human shield. One of my favorite passages is about putting on the armor of God. In my humble opinion, this is what God intends for us as far as compassion. To me, it means we need to be at the ready spiritually, at all times, for ourselves and others.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.Ephesians 6:10-18
Sometimes all it takes is a simple check-in with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. If you feel the strange urge to look at someone’s social media account, or a thought crosses your mind of an old memory with someone, that could be God’s prompt to you. My prompts often come that way, or in the form of my writing. God has inspired me to write these things because there are people who need to read them. My most recent inspiration came from my darkest times of depression and struggle with my faith in Jesus. We ALL stumble in our faith at one time or another. To deny that would not be only a lie, but it would be offensive to God (in my humble opinion) because only Jesus was perfect in His faith. My recent blog post about my own struggle inspired an old friend to contact me. This is someone I haven’t seen in over 20 years, and have only spoken to over social media a handful of times in those 20 years. This person contacted me and said that my writing was exactly what they needed to hear, at exactly the right time. This made my heart soar because it provided confirmation that I was writing in the Spirit, guided with my words. I praised God for His guidance and for allowing me to witness to this person who needed to hear it. I realized….this is my moment to show compassion. This person needs my help. A month ago I couldn’t help myself, much less someone else. But, now I see that God brought me out of the darkness, in order to help someone else see His light. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
This leads me to the last point of this discussion; finding your purpose in God. After I came out of the depression, I went to work. Prayer, meditation, listening for God’s guidance, studying the Word, soul searching, and pestering a pastor friend of mine with tons of questions (thanks Tim). On November 21, 2020, my purpose in God was revealed to me. That purpose is to witness to others about God’s love and mercy, by showing them through my writing. I was blessed with the gift of writing. It has always come natural to me and I really enjoy it. I used to write funny posts, loaded with sometimes sarcastic and vulgar humor, satire, political humor, and many other things. I still have those too, but that’s not where my focus is anymore. I might throw in a few of those here and there, for the people who still like to read them.
I probably sound incredibly boring now to some of you. That’s okay though. You don’t have to agree with me or get the “warm and fuzzies” from my writing. I’m certain I will stumble at times. That’s okay, too, because sometimes God places stumbling blocks in front of us to cause us to take pause and think about what we are doing. It gives us a moment to think and decide if that is the direction we are supposed to be going. For me, writer’s block is a perfect example of that stumbling block. When God is guiding my words, they flow easily and the thoughts often come faster than I can write them down. However, when I am not writing His words, I often have trouble. I used to set aside time to write each day, forcing myself to think of something to write. I no longer do that, instead, I wait for His motivation and inspiration. This way I know that my thoughts are of God and not of myself. When the Spirit speaks, it speaks loud and clear, and fast. I have to keep pen and paper handy at all times. I always used to wonder how God spoke to us and wondered if I would ever hear Him. I finally figured out that I had been hearing Him all along, I just wasn’t listening.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it brightens your day and reaches you somewhere inside. I hope it inspires you seek guidance on what YOU can do in God, for God, and for our fellow humans.
With love in Jesus,
I don’t usually write acknowledgments for my posts but for this one I felt the need to. So, here goes. Here are the people who have inspired me most recently.
My friend, Tim: Thanks for being sent to me, when I needed it most. Thanks for guiding me in my growth and counseling me on my gifts. And a big thanks for putting up with my questions and messages.
My friend, Jillian: Thanks for reaching out to me while I was in the darkness. You helped me to find the light again.
My Old Friend: Thanks for reaching out to me and asking for help. I am grateful for you, for placing your trust in me to reveal your weakest moments. I will be here for you forever, until one of us takes our last breath. This I promise to you. You are NOT alone. God is holding you.
My Aunt, Diana: Thanks for being a Godly woman, and an example I have always looked up to. I may not have seemed like I cared, but I was paying attention. Your prayers for me worked.
My Dad, Ray: Thanks for opening up and revealing your own gifts, in order to help me further discover mine. Thanks for listening to me babble in confusion for hours on end. Seek the stars, dad. That is where your answers lie. You already know the answers, you just have to find them for yourself.
My husband, Seth: Thank you for being my partner and better half, and loving me even when I’m ugly crying with messy hair and a runny nose. Thank you for loving me.
Jeff Carver, Author of Gifted By Grace: Your study helped me discover who I really am, and my purpose in God. I don’t know you, and you don’t even know I exist. But, you were a blessing to me in my darkest hours.
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: You know my heart. So, I simply say thank you here.