“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
~ Mother Teresa
Are you stressed out, broken, and downhearted about some events in your life? When you share it with others, how do they react? Do they feel your sorrow with you? Or do they roll their eyes and chalk off your pain as not worthy of notice? Maybe even call you a big baby if you cry?
Why is it that often in our society, even in some families and Christian circles, it’s not acceptable to share our brokenness? Why are many forced to be so stoic about their emotions? Where is the compassion? Where is the sincere sorrow and longing to alleviate the pain of a broken soul?
A couple of phrases I have heard and others I know have heard are “Suck it up!” or “Get a grip!” I have seen it in others and have felt it myself in my life that such expressions deeply hurt. It’s saying, “I don’t believe you hurt,” or “Shut up with your heartaches right now.”
Sometimes in Christian circles, it’s “Have faith” or “It’s God’s will and we shouldn’t murmur against it.” Heaps of guilt about our lack of faith or our burning questions add to the weight of our pain. Jesus shows another way of compassion as He opens up His arms to the broken, the doubters, the ones who ask why. He invites us to pour out all our grief and pain to Him. He cries with us and offers words of peace and comfort.
Another phrase that cuts deeply is “Forget about the past and move on.” The past affects us no matter what and is what molds us to who we are today. Forgetting the past means hiding who we really are. It means throwing away the lessons we have learned through the pain. It means denying the grieving process that is so necessary for each person to work through.
We’re all human, and no one is exempt from brokenness in their lives. Everyone needs compassion. Everyone needs someone to truly care about their feelings. Everyone needs to hear we are sorry for their pain.
What an example God shows us of compassion! The Israelites again and again forgot Him and went their own way, but when they cried out to God again, He heard them and delivered them time after time.
“Because of Your great compassion You did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.” Nehemiah 9:19
“And when they cried out to You again, You heard from heaven, and in Your compassion You delivered them time after time.” Nehemiah 9:28
“When they cry out to Me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.” Exodus 22:27
In this season we celebrate the incomprehensible compassion of God. God coming down in human form. God sending down His own Son through a humble birth. To take all the weight of our sins upon Himself so we can go free. Because of this we may have hope.
Jesus’ heart is so full of love and compassion for broken souls. He wants us to pour out every grief in our hearts. He will never give us a cold shoulder. He shares in our sorrows and longs to heal our brokenness. We will never, ever hear anything short of compassion from Him. And you know what? If we do not experience compassion on this earth from anyone or we feel misunderstood, Jesus’ compassion infinitely exceeds and fills that lack in our hearts.
The next time you deal with a lack of compassion and understanding, take it to Jesus. He is ready with open arms to receive you and wrap you in His embrace of everlasting love and mercy.
“Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” Psalm 103:4
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8
“Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.” Isaiah 49:13 NLT
Compassion Hymn – Keith and Kristyn Getty