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Give an Affordable Gift–No Money Required!

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Most of us can hardly keep up with all of the new and latest gadgets or other technology that comes out, and we can find ourselves in a perpetual state of desiring more and never being satisfied.  Think about it.  Whether it’s our career path, church position, or community status, most of us strive for greater.  While this often can be healthy and positive, if we are not careful, as believers we can be tempted to lay aside compassion, an integral hallmark of our faith.  At first glance, striving to obtain more in life and lacking to show compassion may not seem related, but upon closer examination, they can be intricately linked.

When Jesus was “moved with compassion,”He always acted out of selflessness and for the benefit of others.  He healed, delivered, and made people whole as a result of His compassion.  I am convinced that you can’t be self-centered, materialistic, and power hungry and at the same time, compassionate.  They don’t go together.  Compassion requires an outpouring of our selfish motives and agendas and present in the state of another person’s pain, suffering, and/or fear.  Our striving to be greater and get greater first, must be grounded in desiring greater in the Kingdom, which according to the Matthew 20:26b, means that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”  We must never want greater so badly that we don’t have a heart for serving others.

I do believe, however, that you can feel sorry or sympathy for others in a selfish state.  You might think, “Oh, I feel sorry for him,” or “That’s so sad what happened to her,” but those emotions will never motivate you to feel that person’s pain or take Spirit-led action.  So, yes, you can give people things without compassion.  You can say all the right things without compassion.  However, compassion is something a person can’t fake.  The person going through the trial, heartache, and pain can easily identify those who have it and those who don’t.  Compassion is a position of the heart that is uniquely situated to love and endure with a person until the change comes.

In a world where people are always striving for more stuff, we can’t forget that regardless of our status in life, we all have the potential, through Christ, to give of ourselves.  I am reminded of Job’s friends, and while they weren’t perfect, they showed compassion for Job.  Job 2:13 says, “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”  This is meaningful because sometimes all that is required to show compassion is for us to come out of our own problems and lives to be there for another through their pain.

It’s important for us to look around us, with no hidden motives or agendas, and just be there for one another.  It’s surprising how many people the Lord will show us that we can show compassion towards when we look for them.  We may or may not be able to do something to relieve someone immediately out of their misery, but we can always extend love and compassion–a free gift, required no money but all of YOU!

I’ve included a few scriptures that have blessed me about compassion, and I pray you have a blessed weekend!

“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”  Matthew 14:14

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” I John 3:17

“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”  I Corinthians 9:22

“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”  Mark 1:41

Blessings,

MaRita

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Dealing with Adult Bullies

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When I was in fifth grade, I remember my sister, who was in fourth, coming to me after school to tell me that a girl wanted to fight her after school.  Instantly, I felt a mix of emotions. First, I felt protective and reassured her that everything would be okay.  Second, I was scared.  My parents had taught us that if you fight one of us, you fight all of us.  I would have to fight for my younger sister, and no, I had never fought before.  Nervously, I prayed that God would intervene.  The girl arrived, big, intimidating, disheveled and mean.  She talked loudly and harshly while I sat my books down on the asphalt, wishing I could vanish.  As she came towards me, a car came by and slowed on the side of us.  A brassy female voice barked out from the car, “Get your —- home now!”  Without another word, the mean girl turned into an obedient daughter and fled the scene immediately.

Since then, I’ve dealt with a slew of bullies, but they look and act much differently than the ones of my childhood.  Adult bullies are stealthily woven into the fabric of almost every job, organization, and yes, even church.  They don’t want to fight you after work or church (most of the time), but they launch their attack in the background, desiring to destroy everything, including your character, reputation, respect, career, and purpose.

David found himself dealing with bullies early on in his life.  When Goliath, the giant Philistine terrorized the Israelite army, David confronts him by slewing the giant with the weapons (a slingshot and rocks) that God equipped him with and instructed him to use.  His weapons looked useless in the face of the giant, but David obeyed God and defeated the giant.  The key here is that we have to obey God in situations when we’re under attack.  Regardless of how far off the instructions God gives may seem, we must be obedient to defeat giants in our lives.

Of course, we can’t go around hitting bullies, and again, David is a great example of how we can respond under an attack.  Saul, clearly a weak leader without a close relationship with God, allowed his jealousy to fester to the point where he tried to kill David.  Saul didn’t have the peace of God resting on Him (as David did) and gained his momentary peace and affirmations only from the people.  When the people shifted their attention from him to David, Saul’s insecurities drove him mad.  Saul didn’t even really hear the praise from the people, and they did praise him.  Saul only heard that in comparison to David, Saul’s praise was not as great. 

Saul threw a spear at David twice and missed!  It seems that the closer David clung to the Lord, the further Saul got from David.  David’s love for God and humility not only protected him but also exalted him to status of king.

David had the opportunity to retaliate and kill Saul, but he didn’t do it.  He didn’t operate in his flesh but in the Spirit.  David even said, “And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds, so my hand will not touch you.’ “(1 Samuel 24:12-13). He knew that the best way to deal with Saul was not to confront.  In fact, the Bible says that “David behaved wisely in all of his ways.”

When dealing with adult bullies, it helps to meditate on David and how he handled being chased day and night by an enemy.  He grew tired and experienced a host of emotions anyone may feel with a murderer on his or her heels, but he continued to surrender to, obey and trust God.  We have to pray continually for instructions because one bully may need one course of action to dismantle and another a different course of action. 

Finally, we have to remember that it’s not the weapons that should be the focus, but God.  He will give us strategies to cope with bullies and regardless of how the giants fall, it is all His doing and not our own.

All those here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47).

Blessings,

MaRita