I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
– Romans 8:18
I’m sitting at my work desk wondering how on earth to begin writing this post. I have had this on my heart for a long time but haven’t had the time or words to express myself, but it needs to be said and needs to be heard so here I go.
COMPASSION is absolutely essential to life. I can’t tell you the things I’ve been through this year but it has moved me to redefine my standards and find value within myself outside of anything else. It has also challenged me to love and forgive beyond what I thought I was capable of and have the courage to reach for what’s good for my life. But let me start somewhere else…
It’s much easier to do the wrong thing and seek to defend ourselves in battle, than it is to do good and show mercy to others, but it’s a worthy effort for the sake of showing real love to another broken, hurting person [Matthew 6:14]. Humans are naturally rebellious to good and flutter towards evil like moths to a flame. We don’t realize the danger as we draw towards the alluring, flickering light, until it singes us or flat out burns us alive. We almost can’t help ourselves and that’s one fact we have to realize about each other. The desire for evil is so much stronger than the desire to do good [Romans 7:15] even though we all think of ourselves as good, wholesome life-seekers. This is why compassion and mercy are imperative.
Since we all fall short of goodness [Romans 3:23], since we all fail over and over again and since we all screw up and cause harm to the people we love, we all need the compassion of others to help us change and move forward. One of the saddest, most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen is when people get so consumed with their guilt and shame they get paralyzed in self-hate [Ezra 9:13]. When you’re so consumed in hating yourself for who you are, what you look like, or the mistakes you made in the past, you cannot move forward to embrace the compassion and mercy of others and you refuse to see any good in yourself because you feel you deserve the punishment. This view of oneself is a misleading, incomplete image. Everyone has evil AND good in them. Guilt forces you to only see the bad. Accepting the compassion and forgiveness from the person you’ve wronged is the only thing that can help you overcome guilt and heal from your pain. It is the only thing that works and it takes faith on YOUR part. No other person can do the healing for you and if you believe another person is the sole reason for your healing, you are a) mislead and b) going to unintentionally make them your crutch. I cannot emphasize this enough… healing takes action on your part.
Unfortunately the common thing that happens is people try to fill the void of hurt with objects and people. The problem is, coping is sometimes like a black hole. It sucks in everything in its path: the people you love, the things you enjoy, your hobbies, your goals, all the good things and the bad things, until you’ve used up everyone and everything and you’re onto another fix until you’re hollowed out and unfulfilled. You suck the life out of people because you’re trying to fill a void that cannot be filled. The only solution is to destroy the void completely — obliterate self-hate through the acceptance of how someone Greater values you.
Another obstacle to this recovery goal is people try to get forgiveness from each other… rebuild their earthly reputation, regain dignity and respect. All of that is super important and it does help, but it doesn’t get deep enough. There’s still a speck of dust in your heart you just can’t scrub away with the approval or compliments or encouragements from others. When you truly despise yourself, nothing anyone does or says will convince you of your value.
But then there is God who designed you in His image [Genesis 1:27] and made you who you are, loves you and deems you worthy of existence, wants good things for you, waits for you, accepts you where you’re at and wants to draw you to where you need to be for His purpose in you. He sees the GOOD in you and loves you DESPITE the bad. Knowing someone greater than you, who PUT you here on this earth, will help you surrender to REAL love and put your mistakes behind you. In God’s eyes we are all valuable and accepting that truth ultimately helps me get through every rough day when I feel like my own flaws and failures define me. As I said before, healing takes action on your part. Sometimes the first step is believing and having a constant faith that you are loved, forgiven, capable of improvement and worthy of this life. You can choose to take this present challenge as an opportunity to be transformed [Matthew 5:6, 2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 4:13].
For those of us who are recovering from hurt or dealing with people who have hurt us, we have a responsibility to show compassion to everyone, even the people who hurt us. We don’t know the level of guilt, shame and self-hate going on inside of them and by having a bitter, hateful, vengeful, hostile attitude towards them, we do far more harm than good to ourselves, to them and to loved ones new and old. Think about it. What if the last words you spoke to someone were “I hate you.” What if that was their last day and that’s what you left them with. Now you have to go on for the rest of your life in guilt because you didn’t tame your tongue and find peace in your heart to be compassionate. It is much easier said than done, especially when our focus is on our internal hurt or betrayal. Don’t get me wrong, there are people with an evil state of heart, who deliberately and consciously do horrible things and have zero remorse for it. Protect yourselves and flee from such people. But keep in mind that only God knows the heart of each man and woman [1 Corinthians 2:11] and learning to be compassionate at all times is not just for them, it’s also for you. What’s that saying? “Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.”
I honestly believe with God everything is possible and without Him, nothing truly is [Mark 10:27]. I often try to do things on my own because I’m impatient and I think I know best, but then I get a wakeup call and realize how off the path I am and how much re-direction I need. Our attitude towards others could be a life-changing factor for them and for us. Every challenge we face is an opportunity for us to learn and grow from it, building our character and strengthening our morals and standards. This shifting of attitude is something I have to work on in myself and man, do I suck at getting this right most of the time, but that’s life: A CONSTANT EFFORT TO ACHIEVE THE UNREACHABLE GOAL OF PERFECTION. Aim high, love big.
“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.”
– Ezra 9:13