Friday, November 22, 2013

the secret of compassion

We all know lost people. I would even say we're all related to some.

Thus, my situation is nothing exceptional. I have family members who don't know Jesus. 

And do you know what? I used to be angry at them because of it. I used to be bitter because of the nasty words, childish actions, and total lack of esteem for anything good. I don't mean good in the chocolate cake or sunny day sort of way. Anyone can like those things. I mean, good as Jesus is good. I used to be angry because of the selfishness displayed in their lives. I used to be incensed at their lack of feeling for the plight of the poor and desolate, for orphaned children…

But over this past summer, a few things have changed. The Lord has shown me my own great sin, and the coldness of my own heart --the one that beats right here! This very heart! He's shown me that I have nothing --nothing! --that wasn't first given to me. Of myself, I am utterly bankrupt in the realms of love and righteousness; even the desire for purity doesn't naturally dwell within me. It's all a work of His unthinkable mercy.

Now, when family members snap at me very rudely, although my first emotion may be one of hurt, a different one quickly follows…

pity. compassion. a longing for the very same Mercy that has been poured out on me to be displayed in his life, and her life, in that cousin's life, and that man at the gas station the other day who refused a track when he discovered it was Christian. Oh, for every sinner to fall on his knees before the cross where such a great purchase was made. Oh, for the Lamb that was slain to receive glory, honor, and power. Souls are the reward of His suffering. Souls! My soul, and yours, if you've entered into Christ by faith.

I realized that if this person (who is currently being so mean and selfish) died within the next ten minutes, they would go down to the sides of the pit to be tormented until Judgement Day, and then thrown into the lake of fire. Unimaginable torture. Unending torture. Perfectly just torture, that we all deserve. They would cry for all eternity for just one drop of water to cool their tongues. They will receive a full reward for flouting all that the Lord loves, and all that He hates. How, then, can I do anything but cry?

Lord Jesus, keep reminding me of this secret of compassion. Work it in me, because, on my own, I am not capable of caring enough to share the Gospel even with people I like, let alone the rather nasty ones. 

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