4/03/2016

Choosing Compassion

A man in his eighties built homes for most of his life. His hands knew the patterns of the tools, and his nose grew accustomed to the smell of freshly cut wood. He was a builder, a fixer, and maker, but little did he know that he would have to tear down his own home in the spring of 2016 due to a flooded dam.

He would watch as several young adults ripped out oak paneling contaminated by mold. Piece by piece, they tore out the cabinets and ridded the walls of sheet-rock. Carefully they removed the custom fireplace that he built and placed the pieces on the deck in hopes that one day he can rebuild his creation.

His home stood bare, hardly recognizable from the plans at which he first made it, lived in it, and cherished it.


I saw this. I helped the man cut his own cabinets out of his kitchen. I smelled the dust, the mold, and the wood that seeped out of this process of dismantling. I helped him to recover from a disaster than I hardly understood but desperately wanted to understand.

Oh how I wanted to understand.

I wanted to understand how to feel compassion. I searched for the moment, that feeling, or some kind of emotional response to the crisis going on around me. What do I say to this man as I take apart his home? How can cutting his walls in two bring about compassion? Why wasn't I crushed, crying, or caring enough?



You see, I thought compassion was simply a feeling, but God showed me as I served on a mission trip this week in Vinton, LA, that compassion is a choice. And it starts with God.

God is compassion, the beginning, source, and definition of it. Just look at how God describes Himself in Exodus 34:6: "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Look at the healings and miracles of Jesus in Matthew 14:14: "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick."

If God is the source of compassion, then only God's Spirit in us moves us to compassion. It is not something we can force to flow from the goodness in our souls, for without God, there is no goodness in our souls. "For if is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purposes." (Phil. 2:13) We must ask and have faith that God will work compassion in our hearts. "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you." (John 15:7)

But sometimes, after asking for compassion, we get something unexpected.

Work.


As it turns out, it is the same thing.

For I found that compassion is an active choice to follow the ways of Jesus. It is more than a feeling, bigger than a moment, and stronger than an experience. Compassion looks "not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others." (Phil. 2:4) And compassion works hard "as working for the Lord and not for men." (Col. 3:23)


We must decide to "clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Col. 3:12) We must remain in Christ that His fruit may grow in us. And this fruit isn't a good-feeling-that-we-can-put-on-Instagram kind of a deal. It is a work-hard-until-sweat-stings-our-eyeballs kind of deal. It is hard work even when we don't feel anything. It is choosing to act in compassion even when we don't feel compassion.

Then, in the process of following Jesus, we met people like that man who builds homes. While our hands are busy in obedience, God is busy in our hearts. Rooting out pride. Growing a genuine love for others that is more than an experience.


This week, I learned a bit more about how to choose compassion. I learned how to work in compassion. And I learned that compassion is more than a feeling. Now the adventure begins. What are we going to choose today? Where are we going to look, serve, and ask?

As you think about compassion today, keep Vinton, LA, and surrounding areas in your prayers. Hundreds of homes were affected by the flooding of the Sabine River, some completely ruined and many without insurance or assistence. Pray for more workers, because "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt. 9:37-38)

Comment below your thoughts on compassion. How can I be praying for you this week? How are we going to work for God's kingdom?

Princess Hannah

9 comments:

  1. Wow. I never really thought about it that way! This was an eye-opener, Hannah! Thank you for the reminder. God is speaking through your words.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I am glad that God is using me :)

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  2. This is so wonderful, Hannah! I've really never thought of compassion in this way; I always seem to learn something new through your posts. Your mission trip sounds like it was really difficult, but an incredible experience at the same time. I'll definitely be praying for Vinton.

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    1. It means so much to me that you are praying as well!

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  3. I loved the way you explained Compassion, Hannah. Compassion is something many of us don't have. We are too busily thinking about ourselves to think about anyone else. I also loved how you, though a Princess, bent your back to hard work. =) Thank you for being a shining example to the rest of us! "A servant is no greater than his master"...we know who our Master is! And HE was willing to toil for others because of His great love!

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    1. The illustration that you gave vividly inspired my mind! And that verse... so true!

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  4. Wow, this was such an eye-opening post, Hannah! I've been wanting to be more compassionate and sympathetic to others recently, but it doesn't come naturally. So this was very timely, and you explained it so simply and well! :)

    Also, how have I missed reading your blog before?! I definitely will be back to read more of your thought-provoking posts! :)

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  5. Wow i really loved reading this Hannah. Never looked at this way. I agree with u about compassion starting with God and many of us sadly do not have it.My prayers going for all those affected.
    I just found your blog today and i love the look of it. Im trying to connect more with other young christian bloggers. Would really appreciate it if you could check out my blog.
    God bless you.
    Joanny
    imachoccakeaholic.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. I can scarcely read any of your posts without coming undone. First by my affection for you, eldest daughter. Then by the overpowering love of God - the kind of Love that would compel Jesus to come to earth as a sacrifice for mankind.

    How I love you, PrincessHannah, and the wonderful Jesus-following adventurer woman you are becoming!

    #ProudestofDaddies
    paul

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