Dry seasons. WHY GOD?!!!???! No but seriously. I’m definitely in a dry season of life right now, and at first I wondered why God has me here. In 9 days I leave to spend 2 months working at my favorite place on earth… CAMP! And I expect God to do big things in me this summer, but ever since I got back from school I’ve been in this awkward in-between stage. I’ve been overwhelmed and lacking in motivation, which is a very nasty combination. But God is still faithful and still knows how to speak to me even through the dryness. So God is teaching me about compassion through this season of life, preparing me for whats to come this summer. He’s been giving me a little sneak peek at what’s to come in my next season.
I’ve always used the word “compassionate” to describe myself, but I realize now that I didn’t even know what it actually meant. Compassion doesn’t mean sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, but compassion is doing something about it. It’s nothing you can do with your mind, or even your heart. Knowing the truth and being able to act on it are two totally different things. Compassion is an action out of plain and simple love. Just because I have a soft heart doesn’t make me a compassionate person. The word “compassion” in Greek is oikteírō, and that means “to respond with deep sensitivity.” I’ve never recognized the “to respond” part before. God doesn’t call me to dangle my feet over the edge, but to dive in headfirst. God shows compassion to us, not to make us feel good, but so that we can pour it back out to those in need. Jesus Christ, and all he did is our ultimate example. But look deeper than just His mighty actions, look at the intentions behind them.
Compassion doesn’t come naturally. We were born with sin and each day we wake up with sin in our hearts. I don’t want to be the person that I wake up as, I have to ask God to come into my heart and take over instead. Compassion takes persistence and constant prayer. Compassion is unique and scandalous in our world today, and its easily noticed. Be the one that stands out, not the one who just notices that one that stands out.
Compassion is bold.
Be compassionate as Christ was. Do you know that Jesus doesn’t love people because he thinks that if he loves them enough they just might love Him back?? God loves without expecting anything to come from it. Compassion is loving when you aren’t loved back. Its doing something for someone that you know fully well wouldn’t do the same for you. So many Christians say “I have to love this person because they might see the love of God through me.” I think that its great when non-Christians decide that they see God through someone enough to pursue it themselves. But I also think that that’s not how Jesus would have loved. He loves us ALL just as we are, and even if we never come to see that, He still does. People aren’t a project. People are an opportunity to love. Compassion is a decision and its committed and the only intention it has it to love purely.
Compassion isn’t “depending,” its “regardless.”
1 Thess. 5:11-14 is exactly what being compassionate looks like– “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
Compassion is tender, compassion is genuine, compassion is eager, compassion is spontaneous, compassion is pure, compassion is simple, compassion is CHRIST. There are so many opportunities to show compassion every day. Listening well. Paying it forward. Giving advice. Stopping for the man with the homeless sign. Being real and vulnerable with people. Speaking kind-hearted words. Smiling. Praying. Loving. Its not about getting more opportunities but about changing your attitude towards them. The opportunites are actually endless because YOU CAN CREATE THEM WHEN THEY ARENT THERE. Its all in the perspective. When you don’t see opportunities to be compassionate, its because you aren’t looking hard enough. Seek out a chance to be scandalously genuine in such a fake world.
…and God gave me all this in a DRY season 😉