Categories
Uncategorized

The best way we can learn compassion

How do you respond to photos of malnourished children in Africa and other regions of the world? How do you react when you see on television or the internet, images of street families striving to make a living? Do you shut your eyes? Do you gaze in the other direction? Perhaps you prefer to change the channel.

Now, how do you respond to that child who stretches their hand so you can drop a coin? maybe you stop, listen and assist where possible. Perhaps you ignore and mind your own business.

You know how you respond. In my case, I used to shun and go my way. But now I am changing. A new voice, a gentle voice, is communicating inside me. Deep inside my heart, I’m hearing and learning to listen. I’m learning to be compassionate. I’m learning to care a bit more.

Compassion is one of the most valuable qualities and yet difficult to acquire. Hard to attain since it is not easily understood.

When we hear the word compassion, our minds gravitate towards pity, considering a person less than we are. Less blessed. Of low dignity. Helpless…

This is completely opposite to the true meaning of compassion. Compassion actually means to suffer. To feel with another person, to feel the pain they are feeling, and act.

If we are to have compassion, we must sacrifice for its attainment. We must be willing to learn it. The best teacher of compassion is Jesus. He was exceptionally compassionate in word and indeed. He practised it as well as He taught it.

Let’s explore diverse ways in which Jesus practised and taught compassion.

Jesus touched and healed the sick

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, if you are willing, you can make me clean” Then Jesus moved by compassion stretched His hand and touched him, and said, I am willing, be cleansed….”

Mark 1:40-41.

Jesus touched and healed the leper. It is worth noting that lepers were outcasts. They were insulated from society. People feared them. They pitied them.

Jesus’s compassion goes beyond people’s social-economic status. It goes beyond race, past physical appearance. It goes beyond the age for, he touches and blesses the children when others are ignoring them. (Matthew 19:13-15).

I hope we learn from Jesus who deliberately offered His time, focus and attention to all without restrictions.

I hope you know when you’re having satisfactory sleep under that roof, there are other human beings whose houses as well as beds are the streets. I hope you know there are people who are shut into systems that won’t allow them to have blossoming lives. I hope you know some didn’t choose that kind of life.

What if you’re moved by compassion and touch their lives? What if you be there? You see, you witness, you touch and feel. Feel their pain, their deprivation, their sorrow, their failed education…? You touch and feel, and mend their broken wings? Is helping them fly not admirable? Is it not descent? Is God not going to bless you more? Is this not true compassion?

Jesus fed the hungry

“I have compassion on the multitude because they have now continued with me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them hungry to their houses they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from far.”

Mark 8:32.

I wish you know when you are eating buttered bread there are others who are agonizing from hunger pungs. I wish you know on the other side of the world a woman is trying to put “whatever” in the pot to prevent it from boiling over.

I wish you know when your boys and girls are eating from the fridge, other boys and girls are eating from the bins. I wish you’re recharged with compassion and touch their lives.

Jesus taught compassion

An example is the parable of the good Samaritan, (Mark 6:34). The Jews loathed the Samaritans. But this particular Samaritan, moved by compassion, goes past hatred and helps in relieving a stranger’s pain.

He beholds a need and acts on it. He goes the extra mile and gives the caretaker enough money to take care of the man while he is away. He promises to pay any extra cost when he comes back.

We can choose to get involved in the pain of others. We can purpose to care more. We can choose to abate self-interest for the sake of doing something glorious. Can you imagine how the world would change if we chose and walked this path?

Jesus literally shed tears for the unbelieving and the lost

“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But they are hidden from your eyes…”

Luke 19:41-44.

“Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ” See how He loved him.”‘

John 11: 35-36.

The world is burning in sin. Maybe we can be a bit perceptive to the value of the lost soul. Maybe our hearts can be filled with compassion and tears of compassion fill our eyes.

What if compassion drives us to take the gospel of the compassionate Christ to the lost? To touch that one soul. This is the core of the gospel. Jesus commissioned us to do so. It has a reward.

Brothers and sisters, it is not enough to fold our hands around our chests, and burry our fists in our armpits and stand to watch. Nor is it generous to stand hands akimbo and look. Stare and say we are seeing. We understand. We pity them. We love them, and yet we are doing nothing about it.

This is not the compassion Jesus practised and taught. Love cannot flourish like this. What if we unfold our hands to open our hearts, and stretch them to reach out? Move into action, perpetually, every day, for our compassion to flourish.

I wish you remind yourself of this verse.

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

1 John 3:17.

As you meditate on that, have a look at this beautiful quote:

“Before someone’s tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today.”

God loves you!

Kingdom Titbits,

By Joseph.

Categories
Uncategorized

6 little but powerful acts of compassion we can practise

Matthew chapter 24 through 25, presents a series of eschatological parables that are paramount in all Christian circles and the world at large.

Jesus is communicating his last words. Final words are very vital, and Jesus knows that His crucifixion is near. He is about to complete His mission and give the mantle to His disciples. He, therefore, infuses these poignant and powerful Kingdom lessons into their minds and ours.

In these two chapters, Jesus is basically underscoring the significance of doing work in God’s kingdom. He is pointing out the connection between works and judgement.

One might ask though, “is God going to judge us according to our works during the judgement day?” This question is likely to prompt debate when we consider “grace versus works gospel.”

One might argue that we are saved by grace and not our works, which is true. Another would state that God is only concerned with our hearts but not works. Someone else would boast that their good works alone will take them to heaven.

My opinion is that, while Jesus saved us by grace, we are no longer walking in the former wicked ways. Once we are transformed, we continue doing good works and these are going to determine our ultimate destiny on judgement day.

We cannot claim to be saved and changed yet, our characters are suggestive of unseemly works. Grace cannot dwell with sin.

Jesus in Matthew 7:15 cautions us to be cognizant of false prophets. He continues:

“… therefore by their fruits, you will know them.”

Matthew 7:17-20.

No wonder many are going to be greeted with a big surprise on judgement day, for they are going to discover that their works, once thought gracious are actually against God’s will.

“… many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And I will say to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

Matthew 25:41.

Pause for a moment… consider what it means and feels. God help us.

Matthew chapter 25 from verse 31 gives an account of the final judgement based on our works of compassion to those in need.

Jesus returns in His glory, sits on His throne, before Him, is an assemblage of all nations. He separates the people as a shepherd separates sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:32).

To the sheep He says:

“… come you blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”

Matthew 25:34-36.

To the goats He says:

“…Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Matthew 25:41-43.

Notice the fate of the sheep and goats. It is based on what they are doing or not doing for the needy. The Bible calls the needy “one of these little ones.”

It is apparent that the little acts of compassion we are doing to the less privileged matter a lot. Whatever we are giving out of compassion, however small it is, is a great feat. We don’t need to be noticed, Jesus is seeing and rewarding openly. For, we are actually doing His work.

Now, let me enumerate these six acts of compassion as embodied in this account. What if we begin practising them?

  1. Feeding the hungry.
  2. Giving a drink to the thirsty.
  3. Being hospitable to strangers.
  4. Providing clothing to the naked.
  5. Visiting the sick.
  6. Visiting the prisoners.

Here follow some scriptures highlighting the need for sharing with the needy. They are few of the numerous and similar scriptures in the old and new testament. Unpack the compassion packed within them.

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

I Peter 4:9-10.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Romans 12:15.

“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being.”

1 Corinthians 10:24.

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves are in the body also.”

Hebrews 13:1-3.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

James 1:27.

Brothers and sisters, we are not going to disregard the plight of our fellow brothers and sisters who are agonizing.

God is concerned about our attitudes and actions regarding the less privileged. He actually chastised Nabal when he declined to show benevolence to David and his men. (1 Samuel 25). What are we doing or not doing for the needy?

If we take Jesus’s words seriously, we are going to emulate Him, or at least start learning to imitate Him. We are going to take the plunge right now. We are going to begin extending our compassion to the orphans. The strangers. The depressed. The widows. The mistreated…

That done, soon, when we appear before the judgement seat of God, we are going to rejoice to hear, “come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” Amen!

God loves you!

Kingdom Titbits,

By Joseph.

Categories
Uncategorized

How to find peace during this festive season

Amid ululations and merrymaking, the ecstasy of giving and receiving of gifts, cheerful moments with our loved ones, let’s stop for a moment.

Let’s reflect on our lives. Our lives yesterday, today, the year 2020 and beyond. I wish you search within your mind, your soul and your heart to find peace.

I hope you know seasons come and go. And they are part of the journey of life. But you and I came on earth once, and once we shall fly away, forever.

It is this realization that makes us grab and hold tightly to our purposes. It is our purposes that make us formulate new year resolutions, visions, goals and work hard to attain them.

“We are only born once into life, but in life, we are born many times.”

John Roger.

Let’s explore the six wonderful ways we can find peace. I hope when you fulfil them you’ll have peace to keep you through Christmas and get enough grace to usher you into 2020.

I believe these profound scriptures will grace your reading experience.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given, And the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called a Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Isaiah 9:6, 7.

Forgive yourself

Maybe last year you made resolutions that didn’t work. Maybe you’re the cause of the unfulfilled goals. Perhaps somebody else failed you.

I want you to know that this season you can find peace within yourself. I want you to understand that even though you didn’t achieve this and that, you can still achieve it tomorrow.

I wish you know that though you made a mistake, you don’t have to make it again. For, the mistakes you made this year don’t define how you’re going to live in the year 2020 and beyond. Because you learned from those mistakes.

Can you imagine the peace you’ll experience when you sincerely forgive yourself?

Forgive others

Forgiving others for the hurts and pain they inflicted on us is difficult. However, it becomes easy when we acknowledge that we are frail and fallible creatures.

It is this realization that makes us apologize first for what we did to them, then forgive them for what they did to us.

Forgiveness will liberate us from loads of resentment. Bitterness. Blame. Hatred… we no longer need to carry heavy burdens to Christmas and 2020.

What if you make a conscious choice to forgive. Do you think it is too late to forgive? I wish you realize how peaceful you’ll be when you forgive.

“Hatred, resentment, and ill-will are poisons. They tether your thoughts and your energy and steal the splendour that is in everything.”

Dushka Zapata.

Appreciate yourself

Every step and effort you made to be where you’re, minor and great, made you a stronger person than you were before.

Now you’re well able to face and surmount gigantic mountains and giants on your pathway. You have developed grit to forbear storms and ripples of 2020. Instead of complaining, blaming, murmuring…find peace in your achievements and joyfully leap into 2020.

Appreciate others

Think about the lows and highs you experienced in 2019 and before. Do you remember one person who has been there with you and for you in those moments? What if you let them know how much you appreciate? I hope you know how peace will overflow in your heart when you appreciate them.

Share with others

It is a noble action to share the little and much we’ve gathered through the year/years. Perhaps in your house, there are some items you can do without, maybe you need them. I hope you realize the beauty of sharing with others.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger of bread.”

Mother Teresa.

I hope you know sharing doesn’t necessarily mean you spend money. Giving your time and presence is an amazing way of sharing. Whatever it is, cheerfully share.

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Give thanks to God

We cannot overemphasize the importance of giving thanks to God. When you look back at where you came from and where you’re right now, you see God’s transcendent power.

Nor can we overstate the pleasant things God has done for us. The good health we are enjoying right now, the storms that didn’t swallow us alive, the sickness that didn’t take us away…we cannot cease to say “thank you, God.” And God cannot stop pouring more peace on us.

Mind your spiritual life

There isn’t anything that can deny one peace more than that which brings fear and uncertainty. When you’re doubtful of your spiritual standing you’re the most insecure person on earth.

Today, I wholeheartedly make a call to my dear reader to convene a meeting with yourself. And contemplate about your destiny after this present life. A life characteristic of fleeting joy mixed with terror, furtive pleasure mixed with sorrow, fickle gratification mixed with misery…

“A mind in peace is heaven, a mind in pieces is hell.”

K. Bhujang Shetty.

Dear friend, I wish you know the pleasures of this world are temporal, they are passing away. They cannot provide the peace, security and stability we need.

You will find everlasting peace only in the prince of peace. His name is Jesus. I hope today, after that meeting, you make the phenomenal decision of giving your life to Christ Jesus.

He says:

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you says the LORD thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11.

God loves you!

Kingdom Titbits,

By Joseph.