Compassion is part of our Christian lifestyle. Why aren’t we living the precepts we are governed by?
A few Wednesdays ago, my BSF small group discussed compassion as part of lesson 10. Living as Christ’s Followers, 1 Peter 3-5.
During the discussion, compassion was trending as predominately a Christian behavior, more so than any other religion. I believe most religions encourage their members to become more compassionate, this also includes secular groups, such as schools. Compassion is sought after by most people. It is a common theme among humanity.
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 those who are suffering. (Bible Verses for Compassion. Biblestudytools.com)
The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9 NIV
When he saw the crowds (in the towns he visited), he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like the sheep without a Shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NIV
The difference between Christians and others and every other religion is that it is more profound, in that it is part of the makeup of our living God. The key is ‘living’ God who exudes compassion as part of who he is and the inspiration that we, too, internalize as part of His righteousness in the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. PS 116:5 NIV
Only Christians have a God who lived on earth without sin, was persecuted, suffered for us, died on the cross, and rose to heaven promising He will return someday to retrieve all believers and carry us to heaven with Him. He washed away our sins to give us new life and promises to return to earth and collect us (the believers) upon His return to usher us into heaven.
And as if that wasn’t enough, He returns a second time to receive those who had a change in heart and received Him as their Lord and Savior after the first were ushered into heaven. Our Lord is compassionate to the point of saving the least of us. We cannot earn His compassion; it is ours despite our flaws. He left the 99 sheep to go after the single lost sheep and carry him home. No other religion can share our testimony about compassion.
Reference – BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, mybsf.org; Scriptures – Bible.org; Images – Google Images
The world is in major upheaval and we are caught in it if we are part of the crooked generation. The only escape is through Christ; break away and free yourself from this crooked generation.
~ Lisa Blair
Many times in history we have found the world in upheaval, this generation is no different. During these times our Christianity is being called into question, collectively and individually. In Acts 2, Peter urges over 3000 people to save themselves and join others who believe in Christ. The Call is relevant today.
The NLT says, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. The NIV refers to the times as the corrupt generation. And, the NKJV refers to the times as the perverse generation. Crooked, corrupt, ad perverse all refer to the acts of the Evil One, Satan.
Satan’s goal is to separate and destroy us through perversion, corruption, and dishonesty. His intent is to keep us separated and in disbelief. He wears us down polluting our ears through the media and social media that becomes the topic of conversation of the day, none of these outlets focus on the good accomplished throughout the world everyday. It does not focus on nature’s beauty, the strength and resiliency of people, or the attributes Jesus wants us to live by defined in Galatians 5—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we choose to live a carnal life, we are rushing along on our own, down the crooked path.
There’s a Christian song, Not In A Hurry by Will Regan & United Pursuit—Tell All My Friends, the opening lyrics are: Lord, I don’t wanna rush on ahead in my own strength when you’re right here. It is focused in Acts 2:40. Luke wrote about Peter urging us to relinquish pride that is fed by the things of this earth, created by Satan to debilitate and imprison us.
Part of saving ourselves from the crooked generation is to join the faith, or renew our faith, if you are a back slider, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Peter preached,“Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 NLT
When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we no longer want to rush ahead in our own strength, instead we seek community, brothers and sisters in the faith. We seek to conform to His image (Romans 8:29), to be like Christ. Conformity requires that we learn to be obedient, and dependent upon Christ.
John 15:9-10, NIV, Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
It is only through The Father’s love that can we be freed from this crooked, corrupt, perverse generation. To return to the lyrics of the song, As the lyrics of the song, we find that once we receive Him, we want to enter in prayer and hear His voice, we relinquish our own pride and choose dependence and hence become obedient.
When it comes to Your spirit When it comes to Your presence When it comes to Your voice
I’m learning to listen Just to rest in Your nearness I’m starting to notice You are speaking
Lord I want to love like You I want to feel what You feel I want to see what You see Open my eyes, I want to see You more clearly Open my ears, I want to hear You speak
It is through God’s grace that we are saved. We cannot save ourselves from being a part of the crooked generation, our sin nature confines us to the cycle of sin, however, because Christ died on the cross, we believers receive salvation. Only our relationship with Christ can save us. The Lord is always with us. We cannot be shaken, he is right beside us. He shows us the way, and fills us with the joy of His presence (Acts 2:25 paraphrased); through Him we escape the crooked generation, our inner being is secure, quiet and protected.
Psalms 91 puts it this way,
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:1-16 NIV
The world is crazy, social media is inundating our minds with vile things. There is little to keep us from questioning our sin nature. Life for many is only a finger tip away, everything is online and one click away. This is a wake up call, the only person that can separate us from this crooked generation is Christ. Everyone who calls upon His Name is saved and covered in His blood. Christ will keep you from veering to the left or right and create in you a clean heart, no longer a member of this crooked, corrupt, perverse generation.
For many years I felt the Lord was a punishing God. Words such as sorrow suggested that we were a hurt people. The truth is we are a hurt people, we are a sinful people who must come to a place where our sins are no longer acceptable as our guiding truth. Satan uses sin to capture and control us, to lead us to a hellish death. When we become remorseful and recognize the sorrow we have weighed down upon ourselves, and the God who loves and protects us, we enter into a state of Godly sorrow.
Godly Sorrow is only Mentioned Once in the Bible
Godly sorrow is only mentioned once in the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11. Paul uses this term to explain to the Corinthians that they once lived a sinful life that would lead to worldly death, hell, upon departing this earth but had successfully turned away in earnestness to overcome their sin and repent.
Godly Sorrow is an Acute Sense of Sadness
Godly sorrow is an acute sense of sadness we experience when we sin. We feel sadness because we know we have committed sins. We know we have saddened the Lord, just as the Corinthians knew after Paul taught them that God is the Way and the Light. Palm chastised the Corinthians for their dissentions against the church. He intended to cause them to think and having accomplished this task caused them to repent. Paul knew they were remorseful and regretful for their actions of falling back into disbelief, but he also knew that neither would lead to salvation without true repentance and restitution. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.
Godly Sorrow is a Kind of Wretchedness
“Godly sorrow is a kind of wretchedness that can bring the repentant sinner to tears of grief. Godly sorrow results from a heartfelt conviction that we have offended God by our sin.” Our spirit grieves, and when Godly sorrow has its way, we resolve to stop repeating the sins, turn away from our carnal nature and pick up the cross and do good. We cleanse ourselves through prayer.
Results of Godly Sorrow
Doing good, is the result of Godly sorrow. It is through Godly sorrow that we can release the guilt and shame for our sin nature and actions, and repent asking for forgiveness and vowing to never return to them. Repentance is not an emotion, it is our decision to change. We have to make the decision to turn around and change our lives to truly repent. We repent and believe through faith. Faith comes after repenting and surrendering our life to the Lord. It is through God’s grace that we are forgiven and given new life to move forward. It is through God’s grace that we receive salvation.
God Sorrow, Repentance, and Salvation are Ours
Not all of 1 Corinthians 7 is intended for us. Some of it is intended for the Corinthians. However, repentance and salvation are for everyone who calls out to God to save them from their sins and believes that Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to join God in heaven. God restored the discipline of the church of Corinth and sin, and He restores us. We sin through our (own) actions and complicitous approval of those sinning in our scope of influence. The church was complicit by not addressing incestuous behavior. We are complicit when we do not speak out against sin and do not address the offender.
Sorrow Cannot Merely Be Guilt through Discovery
“We must be very careful that our sorrow for sin is not merely sorrow that has been found out, but sorrow which, seeing the evil of the sinful thing is determined never to do it again and has dedicated the rest of its life to atone, by God’s grace, for what was done.” (Barclay)
Godly Sorrow, Apology and the Holy Spirit, Intercession on Our Behalf
When we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes and helps us apologize to God and repent. This is accomplished through confessing our sins, not by denying them or defending them because neither is true confession.
Godly Sorrow is the Lining of Our Repentance
While Godly sorrow is only mentioned once in scripture, it is the lining of our repentance. Repentance separates godly sorrow from worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow produces true repentance. Worldly sorrow is not really sorrow, it is the only resentment that has been found out (William Barclay). If we do not feel Godly sorrow for our sinful actions, we are not able to truly repent and turn away from them with God’s help. Without godly sorrow, we would repeat the offense, given a chance to do it again. Godly sorrow not only hates the act, but it also hates the nature of the act itself. Without godly sorrow, we are bound by our sin nature and remain in the camp of the evil one.
God Separates Us From Our Sin Through Our Decision to Change
Like the Church at Corinth, we are growing (maturing) when we repent and turn away from sin. God can separate us from our sins and place them as far away as the east is from the west, but He is only able to do so when we are cleansed and convicted to the point of wholehearted confession and repentance. It is through God’s grace that we are saved.
Images – YouVersion/Bible.com; Google Images-Knowing Jesus.com
References – What is Godly sorrow? Gotquestions.org; Studylight.org: 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, Commentaries – Charles Barclay, Albert Barnes, Coffman, John Gill; Nelson’s Quick Reference by Warren Wiersbe; Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary by W.E. Vine; KJV Word Study; Youtube:2Corinthians_BrettVarner; 2 Corinthians_JasonJack
Jesus humbled himself to the point of death to give us life. We should be able and willing to humble ourselves and, honestly, repent for our sins (stating what they are or were) and start anew (fresh). It is never too late, God forgives us when we repent, allowing us to move-on shackle free. Christ gave us the opportunity to rise above who we (presently) are. It is time to change our home location, we are in this world, but not of this world.
Go to a quiet place and speak to God, ask Him to forgive you. You choose the place. It could be in the midst of a train station, bar, standing on the corner in busy traffic. Just still yourself and pray. He will receive you wherever you are at the moment.
The entire law is fulfilled when you love your neighbor, not because you like them, or you agree with their behavior, but because they too are a child of God. when I was young we were taught to dislike/disagree/hate the behavior, not the person. Our carnality often dilutes our love for one another.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us br glad and rejoice in it.
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. Birthday. We are honoring him for His work as one of the most prominent Civil Rights leaders throughout time. As a minister, he lived the Word. Being human Dr. King, had faults like the rest of us and questioned his effectiveness in spreading the Word and effecting change. Like most of us, he probably queried why God chose Him to do such a monumental work. God select’s people to do His work, we do not choose our path. Some of us do very public work to effect change, others of us live our daily lives living the Word in less conspicuous ways.
We all impact the world in different ways. During my earlier years, I led organizations that focused on diversity, racism, civil rights, and education. I am certain my work made a difference in ways that I cannot even phantom, but my thought today is – was it enough?
Jesus walked the earth and did not question if His work was enough. He laid the foundation for our salvation. His disciples probably questioned their work and wondered, is it enough? The truth is that we are human and will always question whether our work is sufficient.
God instructed us to carry forward in Jesus Name; to carry our cross; to do our best to exude Christ-like behaviors and not only speak about the Good News but to demonstrate it in our daily lives. That is all He asks. Therefore it is enough.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you to do.” Matthew 28:19-20, NKJV
I believe, it is enough if we are walking the path God paved for us before we were born into this world. We should never fall prey to the evil one’s effort to dilute our effectiveness. We should not doubt our effectiveness if we know we are on the path. If you are uncertain, take time to evaluate what you have done, and ask God to show you your walk. He may not show you everything but will often connect the dots. He may bring memories forward about certain events, places, and people you have been connected to during different phases of your life and how you impacted their lives. Like water that cascades outward when you throw a rock into a pond or ocean, you may never know how many people, places and things were affected by your due diligence to spread the Word.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20, ESV
Watch – Serving Others Video by Rev. Dr. Bernice King
Images – Google.com Scriptures – Bible.com Video – YouTube
I am holding to the task of Resolving and Acting on the resolve to become a stronger Christian in the face of everyday life in 2019. Join me. Each step we take should bring us closer to Christ.
Standing still and repeating mishaps is not an option for Christians. God provided clear access to Him through prayer. I plan to minimally reduce two of Satan’s shackles, fear and worry. Join me this year. Seek God’s peace in 2019. Not my resolution, my resolve for the year. Putting in the effort, loving the result.
I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.