Tag Archives: compassion

A Lesson in Humility

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I became saved in 2008- and as my best friend Nicole warned- everything in my world hit the fan. The adage that bad things happen when you become saved is absolutely correct. The enemy is extremely upset when he loses a soul and does everything in his power to divert your attention away from your new path to righteousness.

With this in mind, it has been a challenge to change my behavior, my way of thinking, the way I react towards difficult situations, because I had been living my way for 29 years. There are many, many references in the Bible as to how we should behave- and I remember reading some of them and thinking to myself… : “I’m supposed to do what?” To name a few:

James 1:26: If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless.

James 1: 19: My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for a man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.

Luke 6:27: But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.

Romans 12: 19: Friends, do not avenge yourselves, instead leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

Two things I have the most trouble with are forgiveness and my temper. I have improved (a lot!) only because God has proven to me time and time again that I dont need to fight my own battles, He will take care of them for me. You might feel satisfaction on the surface if you get even with someone who hurts you. But, you still carry that seed of resentment in your heart, and you still feel anger. Handling your own business means you dont trust Him to handle it. Release your troubles to Him, pray about them, and leave them at His feet. He will handle them better than you ever could.

My temper was another issue- very quick to condemn, curse, yell, lose my cool. Condemning others is something many of us Christians are known for. There is an underlying sense of entitlement; some of us feel we can condemn because we are saved. But- the Bible says the following:

Romans 2: 5: But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement is revealed.

Romans 12:9: Love without hypocrisy….

I remember a few months back I saw a Facebook post about a woman who was proud to be ‘the other woman’ and was gloating about it. Having had loved ones go through infidelity, and knowing the pain of that myself, I let this woman have it. I told her in no uncertain terms what I thought of her. How dare she tear a family apart for her own selfishness! Then, (this is how God talks to us- if we pay attention!) I saw a different post a few minutes later that read “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”- Gandhi.

I remember thinking, wow… Would Jesus condemn this woman like that? I was ashamed at my reaction. We are supposed to love the sinner but hate the sin. (Luke 6:37: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven…”) How could I call myself a Christian and behave like that? I deleted my comment and gave thanks for God’s immediate correction on my lack of understanding. It’s not my job to judge; its my job to pray. Simply put, if your feeling is to judge, feel superiority, anger, bitterness, then that is not of God. But- if your feeling is to reach out to someone who is making bad choices, leading you to pray for them, help them heal, help them feel love despite their choices, and help guide them to make better decisions, that is what we as Christians are responsible for. Have a great week Fam…. XOXO

A Bright Smile That No One Sees

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of serving the homeless at our annual church Thanksgiving event. My church is a very small but close-knit church; we start compiling clothes, shoes, blankets, food, and start getting ready for this event about 3 or 4 months in advance. There was an awesome spread of food; turkey, macaroni and potato salads, rice and beans, drinks, desserts, and hot dogs and hamburgers, just in case we ran out of food. Not only do the homeless in the neighborhood come, but a lot of needy families show up as well. When I was looking for a church family, I purposely selected a church that was in a low-income neighborhood, because there is more opportunity to help and do the meaningful type of work that God has called me to do.

This year, I was asked to help market the event. During the process of posting fliers at the bus stops and stores around the neighborhood a few weeks ago, I ran into a homeless man who ‘lives’ outside the Family Dollar a block away from my church. He didn’t have any clothes, blankets, or any possessions that I could see, but he did have a large bag full of trash. It was almost like since that was the only thing he owned, he didn’t want to part with it- even though to us, it was just trash. I approached him to tell him about the upcoming event, and he politely declined, saying he didn’t need anything, but thanked me for the offer. I went on my way.

Yesterday during the event, I walked up the block to see if he was still there- and he was. Wearing the same clothes, with the same bag of trash, sitting at the curb watching the traffic go by. I asked him again if he wanted to come by- and again, he politely declined.

I couldn’t help but notice that he is a very good-looking guy. He is tall, thin, with bright blue eyes, and can’t be more than 35 years old. He’s soft-spoken, meek, and won’t make eye contact. I went back to my church, put a bag of clothes together, grabbed one of the guys, and we took the clothes and two plates of food back to my new friend.

Although he didn’t want to accept the stuff “You didn’t have to do that”…, I saw him smile for the first time. My friend Frank (who is wonderful at praying over people) told him that Jesus loved him just the way he is. We wished him well and went back to the church.

I came to a few realizations during this experience.

– The homeless are the voiceless. The more people see them, the more they are ignored, either because people are scared, don’t know how to help, or are disgusted by them because of their appearance. It’s a vicious circle. The more the homeless are ignored, the deeper they sink into depression, hopelessness, or addiction… because they believe that no one cares. The fact that the first thing he said was “You didn’t have to do that” told me he has low self esteem and doesn’t feel he deserves someone to care about him. But- the Bible says that Jesus was also homeless (Matthew 8:20- And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”) So- how do we know that that homeless person you see on the street doesn’t have some great gift for the world, just like Jesus did?

– Anything helps more than just ignoring someone. What could have possible happened to that homeless man to get himself into the situation he’s in? Maybe he’s a veteran. Maybe he has no family. Maybe he lost his job and has no way of picking himself up without someone to help him. Addiction, maybe? It doesn’t matter. Everyone deserves to be loved and acknowledged. Even if you can’t afford to give a few bucks, a simple greeting can work wonders to let someone know they are noticed. Maybe your greeting will give that person the hope they need to get some help.

– His smile showed me how happy he was that someone thought of him. So, if this one tiny gesture made him so happy, how long has it been since someone acknowledged his presence? It was hard not to get choked up while we were talking to him, because I couldn’t help but think that this man was someone’s little boy once, and if it were my son were in the street, I would want someone to help him.

– It is God’s expectation that we help each other, look out for each other, and love each other. (Luke 10:25-27- And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”) It’s difficult to care about everyone, especially people you don’t even know. But it’s our responsibility. The Bible also says that we will be rewarded for doing His works. (Proverbs 19:17- Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.)

My point to writing this is, that during the bustle of the holiday season, take a second to thank God for all that you have. Even if you don’t feel you have much, you have way more than MANY people on this planet. There is always someone worse off than you, and you can also lose everything in the blink of an eye. Stay grateful. Also- take a second to notice the less fortunate. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice much. Even a smile or a ‘hello’ can lift the spirit of someone who hasn’t had anyone to care about them.

Matthew 25:34-40

34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’

40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

XOXO