Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Compassion & Gratitude

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. (Psalm 41:1-2)

"The Word tells us that often Jesus was moved with compassion for the people with whom he came into contact. Our high-tech, fast-paced society forces us to pass hundreds of people each day without ever asking ourselves, much less God, if they could use a compassionate touch." (from Disciplines for the Inner Life by Bob Benson, Sr. & Michael Benson)

We tend to think favorably about the idea of compassion. We know "the weak" need help and we want them to get it. We know those "in trouble" need to be delivered and protected and we like to help in some way. But...

...when we have to pay the price to show compassion, sometimes we take a step back. Showing compassion might mean:

- Getting up at 4:00 in the morning

- Getting ourselves dirty

- Smelling odors that aren't pleasant

- Being hurt by people who are hurting

- Working in places that are scary

- Sleeping in places that are hot and uncomfortable

I recently spoke with some friends of mine who spent time in the Cass Corridor of Detroit. The stories they brought back were like something out of Hollywood movie scripts. If you came across the characters they met in a 2-hour movie, you'd think the screenwriters were going over the top trying to squeeze in all of the drama they could.

But my friends actually met a cast of characters in their several-day-stay. They met people who had been stabbed. They met people who had been arrested. They met people who had been raped. They met people who had lived on the streets. They met people who had faced the worst of addictions and substance abuse. They met people living on the streets with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

My friends were amazed how thankful these people were for the small amounts they were receiving; furniture you or I would throw away, these folks were grateful to be able to use; carpet you or I would burn, these folks were giddily installing and treating as brand new.

"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak". I'm taking another look at how God expresses compassion through me this week.

I'm taking another look at how God helps me express gratitude for what I do have (instead of focusing upon what I don't have).

May He help you take second looks at those things too.

Grace & peace

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