Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience … (Colossians 3:12, ESV)
Now we must ask another question, “If the compassions of our God can be touched, aroused, set aflame, mustn’t it be true that ours can be, too?”
The thing that arrests our attention is that, seemingly, we are the agents of the breath that fans the flame. We can stir the heart of God, and we are told to stir up our own hearts toward kindness and mercy. None of this comes about apart from Him, but we are agents of change, through the faith and the depths of the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ birthed in us.
Those “compassionate hearts” in the Scripture above are, in the King James Version, “bowels of mercy,” and they are to be ours, and we are to … well, acquire them. Again, by faith, of course, but it is an assignment. To us it has been given to choose the deepest compassion we can know, and because we can, we must.
We will speak more and much of how this may take place, and why it must, but is there not already the plight of at least one person, one marriage, one horror of 21stCentury life that moves you, that moves me, nearly to tears?
For many years now, with a few close friends and praying associates, I have kept a list of “D.L.F.”s. It’s an endearing take on the passage in the Narnia Chronicles where Edmund Pevensie called the brave, the stalwart … the PROUD! … Trumpkin the dwarf his Dear Little Friend. Trumpkin doesn’t take kindly to the epithet, and Edmund graciously shortened it to “D.L.F.”. I and several others have been keeping lists of our Dear, but Desperate Little Friends, those who have been long sick or in pain, too long bound up in addictions, some languishing in prison, some chronically lonely, and many who have just contracted a Failure to Thrive syndrome that has not been overcome. There is not one of them for whom I could not cry if I were able actually to feel all that they feel in their circumstances. These are more than friends going through tough times; these are my dear and Desperate Little Friends.
May I recommend the compiling of such a list? It might surprise you how many names would be on it, with very little casting about to think of more. Some on my list may well have turned their faces to the wall as King Hezekiah did, in anguish and fear, and in truth, when I first saw all those names written down, I nearly wanted to turn away … there were too many!, and their needs were too great! One by one, over the ears, I continue to try to pray for them as if I might be the only person on earth doing so, and not because I think I’m the only one, but because I might be, and even if the whole world were praying for them, many of them aren’t free yet, they are not yet healed, and their situations are abysmally tragic and distressing.
And what’s more … I do care. Turned around, your list will show you how far-reaching is the compassion of your soul in Christ Jesus.
By permission, Wikipedia to Wiki Commons
Genesis 12 – the similarities between neurological symptoms of physical and emotional pain