Much has been said on the topic of compassion and we are not short of explanations of the need and benefits of living a compassionate life.
As I’ve written in other posts, the definition of compassion is to “suffer with” (passion = suffering, com = with). This means that compassion is about loving someone so much that we are moved to face their suffering with them as if we are the ones suffering.
We are very good at defeating suffering. A compassionate person is someone who helps others defeat their suffering as if it was their own.
This is a very unnatural way of living in our society that is obsessed with the self, self-amusement, self-protection, and self-promotion.
Yet compassion is at the very heart of Christianity. Jesus said,
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
He also said,
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Putting the ideas of these verses together: a Christian will be known for his extreme life-laying love for others.
This is what will identify us as Christians.
If this identifier is absent from our lives than it either means something is not right.
What a difficult identifier. People will know you are mine, not by your great achievements, great wealth, and great power, but your great sacrifice, great offering, and great service.
As I was taking a shower, I thought about the idea of compassion, to “suffer with”, and I was reminded of another verse in Matthew 1:23
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23 NIV)
Immanuel: God WITH us.
The very first name after He given the name Jesus, the very first identifier He took, was this idea of compassion: God, Who is great, is WITH us, who need salvation.
The verse talks about a moment in the time of Isaiah in the Old Testament that when a prophecy is made, a promise of a great miracle (a virgin giving birth is a great miracle) and that miracle would bring forth Divine Compassion.
We can be compassionate because of Immanuel: God with us. And to truly show compassion is to bring others into this amazing relationship that they too may experience God with them.
And when I lose my patience and temper, as I am prone too, I stop and remind myself of Immanuel: God with us, and of another promise of His in Psalms 103:8
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
As I stay in the company of Immanuel, as I bask in grace, forgiveness, and love, I become something else, a true Christian, truly Christ-like, and I naturally become a sign of hope as I am identified with compassion, just as my Savior first made Himself identifiable by His willingness to suffer with me.
I thought I’d hammer something out before hitting the gym.
It’s been an interesting week for my father and I as we shot scenes for The LEGO Principle app at The Grove Studios tucked somewhere in the Central Coast of Australia. Every day has been full and I’ve had to follow this up with my own responsibilities. God is so gracious to us to involve us in His great work of ongoing creation and recreation. Despite our limitations, our evil inclinations, and the shame of our past, God, who sees all, chooses to give us another day, another opportunity to enjoy the life He has given us according to His original design.
I use the words “us” and “our” deliberately to emphasize my strong belief that EVERYONE is called to an amazing life. Many times we miss this because we’re looking at the wrong places and the wrong things. Sadly, this is because we’ve been taught to look at and admire the wrong things.
That’s why there’s this small group of “elite” human beings, the rich ones, the smart ones, the beautiful ones, the glamorous ones, the talented ones, the connected ones, the powerful ones, the winners, the sexier ones – the great ones. The religious world has their own version: the wise ones, the behaved ones, the active ones. These are the people we clap for and award. These are the ideals that we honor and teach our children to honor. The majority of people are either fighting to join them, wishing to join them, worshipping them, or saddened they’re not one of them.
What about those who are neither of these? Is my value dependent on how close I get to these ideals? Is the value of a person dependent on how close he is to these?
The problem with these ideals is that they automatically draw lines that separate people. Don’t you see that the greatest bigotry in society is not even racial or gender but between us and our selfish ideas and selfish ideals? If someone is not rich, then he is poor. If someone is not smart, then he is dumb. If someone is not beautiful that he is ugly. If someone is glamours than he is unglamorous. If someone is untalented then he is ordinary. If someone is not connected then he is isolated. If someone is not powerful then he is weak. If someone is not sexy then he is unhealthy. If someone is not great then he is a mediocre. If someone is not religious then he is sinful. If someone is not wise then he is foolish. If someone does not behave as we want then he is misbehaving. If someone is not active in church then he is an inactive human being. All these statements are generalized fallacies.This is why the Bible has become so beautiful to me. Because Jesus turns the tables on these ideals.
You’ll never understand this if you seek greatness in the way the world understands it. I know people always say that “You can be great!” and they go on to tell you how the same way the world does which is “You can be great IF you reach these ideals. If you become rich because you prayed and saved and worked hard. If you become popular by showcasing your talents. If this. If that.”Everyone can be great because God made it so. Life is designed, His design at least, is that everyone has equal opportunity to have the best of life.
Let me explain.
God made it so that everyone could be great because everyone can serve.
He says, “If you want to be great, great in my eyes, you must be the servant of all.” And everyone, from youngest child, to the oldest, man or woman, smart, dumb, handicapped, healthy, weak, talented, whatever, can serve.
God also made it so that the best way to please Him is simply to have faith. And everyone can have faith.
The inferior audiences of the world need us to prostitute ourselves. The superior audience of one, God, needs us only to trust in Him. To trust Him for what? To trust Him to save us. Even when He asks of us, He asks of us to be expectant of the good He has planned.
God made it so that the most fulfilling thing in life is to love and be loved.
The Biblical view shows this as:
To find someone so beautiful that you lay your life down for them and to be found so beautiful that someone lays their life down for you.
Everyone can love. You don’t have to be special to love your neighbor. You only need to lay your life for them in living as excellently possible with the benefit of others in mind. You don’t need to be a “great person” to serve your parents, you only need to be available, accepting, affirming, and affectionate (as my dad likes to teach).
God made it so that everyone can love and so enjoy the most fulfilling thing. And everyone is loved by God, so that is fulfilled. God found you so beautiful that He laid His life down for you.
I write this because I get really bothered when I get emails and messages about how “lucky I am” or how “cool my life is”. There are many things you don’t know about me – and about every single person you admire. They’re more like you than you think. They’re probably uglier inside than you. Don’t worship man.
Instead, YOU be great by being the servant of all. YOU have faith and so please the universe’s greatest Audience. YOU go love and YOU go enjoy God’s love daily in daily prayer and worship because that’s where fulfilment lies.You be great because God made it so.
Got this from a post a friend emailed me. I thought it was hilarious.
A New York City woman once posted this personal ad for a wealthy husband:
I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all…
I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY. Please hold your insults – I’m putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them – in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.
A wealthy Wall Street guy responded:
Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here’s why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here’s the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won’t be getting any more beautiful!
So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!
So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease. In case you think I’m being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It’s as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.
Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful” as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.
By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.