Monday, March 1st, 2021
Happy Monday Everyone!! I hope it’s beautiful wherever you may be! I am blessed to be able to share this Lenten season with you and the opportunity to share the insightful words from Henri J. M. Nouwen.
Photo credit: Charlotte (me); Place Gatlinburg, TN (Fall 2020)
The definition of compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is hurting, in pain, or has misfortune and is accompanied by a strong desire to help the suffering. Jesus Christ is the greatest example of someone with true compassion. Not only did Jesus have compassion and heal people from physical suffering, he also showed the greatest compassion for mankind when died on the cross for our sins. Below are verses relating to compassion:
• Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
• 1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (NIV)
• Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV)
• 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (NIV)
Compassion…this is a beautiful word and even more magnificent when seen in action. In general, I think many of us would say we are compassionate, but after reading Nouwen’s words, I am doubting myself. “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate,” is a command to participate i. The compassion of God himself. He requires us to unmask the illusion of our competitive selfhood, to give up clinging to our imaginary distinctions as sources of identity, and to take up into the same intimacy with God which he himself knows. This is the mystery of the Christian life; to receive a new self, a new identity, which depends not on what we can achieve, but on what we are willing to receive.”(1).
One of the things that caught my attention was the mystery of the Christian life…depends on what we are willing to receive(?), not what we are willing to do, write a check for, to donate to or pray about. As we look at ourselves in the mirror can we say with complete truthfulness, “I want to be compassionate like my Father is compassionate.”
“I am one with the Father, I am one with Christ, I am COMPASSIONATE.”
* Apologies, I am a Star Wars fan. As I typed the words, “I am one with the Father, I am one with Christ, I am COMPASSIONATE”. The above scene was playing in my head.
Nouwen talks about competitiveness, more accurately “Through union with him (Christ), we are lifted out of our competitiveness with each other into the divine wholeness. By sharing in the wholeness of the one in whom no competition exists, we can enter into new, compassionate relationships with each other. (2).
Life without competition, seems impossible as it is everywhere we look. It is in sports, businesses, personal lives, reality TV, beauty contests, and the list goes on and on. I personally am very competitive. I played sports for many years, competition between teams, teammates and even myself to continue to sharpen my skills. I am competitive in my job, I am always interested to learning new ways to improve my performance, I am even competitive with my cars performance as it relates to how many miles I can get out of a tank of gas. It’s crazy! I guess what I’m trying to say, (at least from my personal viewpoint) is competition can be something positive when improving oneself. Compassion should not be a completion. Full disclosure, I could be completely wrong in my way of thinking. I would also like to add is that as I have grown and matured in life my need for competition has lessened. I remember early on when I started my blog, I was constantly looking at the number of views I had and how many posts I uploaded but even that competition has changed over time.
Nouwen writes this about compassion, “it asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.” (3)
COMPASSION means full immersion in the condition of being human…
“It is not surprising that compassion, understood as suffering with, often evokes in us a deep resistance and even protest. Compassion is not among our most natural responses. We are pain-avoiders and we consider anyone who feels attracted to suffering as abnormal or very unusual.” (4)
Compassion and kindness start with simple invitations of sharing our joy with others. Compassion is making eye contact with a stranger who just needed to be noticed today. Friends, compassion is everyone’s responsibility, let’s share the love and compassion of our Father with those around us today. May the Lord Jesus Bless and Keep You, Amen. Much Love to all of you ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎💗💓💞💖
Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:
~God Sightings Day 11
At the end of the day ask yourself “Where did I see God today?” Make a list.
💠 ~ Prayer ~ 💠
O Lord Jesus,
you who came to us
to show the compassionate love of your Father,
make your people know this love
with their hearts, minds, and souls.
And to me, O Lord, your stumbling friend,
show your mercy.
~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.
Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing
(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 43, paragraph 1.
(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 43, paragraph 2, Page 44, paragraph 1.
(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 44, paragraph 2.
(4) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 44 paragraph 2.
(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation
(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation