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“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Don’t you hate pettiness? I mean, doesn’t it drive you nuts when you see a group of girls laughing at the outcast because she doesn’t dress right or her hair is odd? Or when a guy tries to exert his dominance simply because he feels above the others?
Those things have always driven me nuts, but I have noticed that I recognize those tendencies in others much more quickly than I do in myself. They stand out in the room, but not in the mirror.Although I don’t like to see the petty expressions of immaturity in others, when I recognize them in myself, I hate it even more.
I have to be honest…as much as I hate to admit it, that is my nature. I am shallow. Something inside of me naturally looks to promote myself and point out flaws in others. I don’t do it intentionally, but I am still very gifted at making others look worse and making myself look better.
Unless you are among the minority of the population today that have trained themselves to look out for the marginalized and distraught, you can probably relate to me. You probably find it very easy to find others' flaws and share them. You, like me, may veil it in language that implies that you feel sorry for them, when truthfully, you like seeing and sharing their imperfections because it somehow makes you feel better.
Like I said, I hate it when I see those selfish characteristics in myself. But, when I realize that they are prominent (usually after I have already let fly with my inflated opinion) I have a choice to make. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to be satisfied with that flaw, or because I know that it is not pleasing to God, will I work to crucify that in me?
Well, I have decided to fight against negative responses and work to overcome those tendencies. This is not the easiest battle that I have ever experienced in my life. But as I pray about it and make intentional efforts to treat others with respect even though I am aware of their shortcomings, it becomes easier.
In the midst of this internal battle that is about me becoming more like Christ, I have also discovered the ability to encourage others along the way. Instead of pointing and laughing, I have gone out of my way to compliment and build up. And, as I give in that way, part of my selfishness dies and compassion is born.
Lord, make us compassionate.
Are you naturally compassionate? If not, how does that make you feel? Have you ever gone out of your comfort zone just to offer hope and encouragement to someone, even though you didn’t originally want to? How did you feel afterward?
Using either www.biblegateway.com or www.blueletterbible.org, do a word search on “compassion” in the Gospels. See how many times it attributes that quality to Jesus and in what settings. Notice what actions follow Jesus’ compassion.