“Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Everyone needs compassion. Everyone longs for kindness and caring. For someone who is willing to help. They need someone who will see behind their masks or dismissing words. They need someone to validate that their pain is real and worthy of attention. They need someone to “be like Jesus” to them.
A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post that gave a beautiful example of compassion. Ceil Ryan describes how her friend felt her life was “out of control.” That her friend said, “I feel like I’m drowning… Well. I guess it could be worse.”
“It could be worse.” Instead of agreeing with her, Ceil validated her feelings and struggles as real and she looked past that statement and saw a hurting soul. She writes, “The pain, stress and worry she is feeling is real. She’s sharing so her struggle can be recognized. It calls out to me, begging to be carried, and to be respected as a burden too heavy to carry right now.”
Ceil’s willingness to look past dismissing words personally validated my hurts, too. I have read other posts or comments to mine that also validate my pain (and I thank God for you all), but too often I dismiss it and don’t allow it to instill more compassion towards myself. Sure, I’m learning to open up and write more about my struggles, but I often say to myself “It could be worse. Appreciate that and be thankful for what you have.” In this way I deny my struggles, whether with chronic illness, the lingering triggers of past abuse, emotional pain, loss, and other stress or worry in life. This inhibits me from grieving as I should. And I’m realizing it drives a wedge in my relationship with a loving and compassionate Savior. When I don’t want to admit I hurt to myself because “it could be worse” or “I need to count my blessings,” I continue to carry my own burdens, even though others are willing to bear the burden with me. And sometimes I don’t feel I deserve to be carried. And I get weighted down and don’t share my hurts with Jesus. I don’t feel the driving need to unburden my pain to Him or let Him carry it.
Even though Jesus knows every deep recess of our hearts, He still wants us to admit we hurt and to unload our pain and struggles to Him. To admit we are helpless without Him. With Him, not one thing we suffer is “too little” to be acknowledged and mentioned. His heart is full of compassion for us.
When we have compassion, we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and really feel for them. What an absolutely perfect example we have in Jesus. He put Himself in our shoes and suffered in our place. And He still does as He watches over each of us, carrying our sorrow and our pain. He sees into our very souls and shares in our tears. He never dismisses our pain. He never says His pain is so much greater than anything we suffer, so we have nothing to complain about. He never says anything we hurt about is “too little” for Him to care about. He hears our buried longings begging to be carried by Him.
Yes, it can always be worse, but this doesn’t mean our pain isn’t real. Wherever we are feeling pain, stress, or heartache, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, etc., it’s worthy of attention. There are people who by God’s grace will show compassion, who are willing to help ease our burdens. Please don’t get discouraged if you cannot find them and if you are getting beaten down again and again. You are worthy of love and compassion. Remember, dear friends… There is one perfect Compassion-Giver Who cares so deeply, will never slight or belittle our concerns, and will never turn us away. He wants us to acknowledge we’re hurting and to freely bring all our burdens to Him. He not only loves to carry our burdens, but He even delights in doing so. And when we have no more strength to go on, He will gently lift us and carry us through.
“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.”
“But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
by Keith and Kristyn Getty
“And with compassion for the hurting You reached out Your hand,
As the lame ran to meet You and the dead breathed again.
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow and shared in our tears;
Heard the sigh of the weary, let the children draw near.”
Thank You, Lord Jesus,
for your unfailing compassion.
Please make us more like You with hearts
full of compassion towards the hurting.
Linking up with:
Holley – Coffee For Your Heart
Jennifer – Tell His Story
Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith