Having Compassion…

I wrote this last fall for our church newsletter. It was election time and I felt that there was so much hate tossed around – it really made me sad. So this was what I wrote:

Perspectives……Anne Sweeney

Everyone Needs Compassion….

Today on my Facebook newsfeed, GodVine shared a sign that read “Don’t Judge Someone Just Because They Sin Differently Than You.” This made me really think about how easy it is for me to be judgmental. For goodness sake I even judge others for judging others! As if I have it all figured out. We all sin. All of us. Sometimes I think we humans feel like we need to belong to something so we join this bandwagon or that to feel important. We react before we think. Sometimes maybe we need to look at ourselves and the stand we are taking. Are we not sinners too? Some sins are easy to see and other times they are only known by us and God. But we are all sinners…it is just human nature to sin. I know I am a sinner!- and I know I am blessed to have my Savior Jesus Christ to save me from me. We need to try to separate the sin from the sinner and treat the person as a person. Isn’t it said “Hate the sin, love the sinner”?…I hope people do that for me… I hope I can do it for others.

Psalm 19:14 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” This is a tall order for human beings! I can be so judgmental!Some days I feel like I keep thinking and saying things that are so unpleasing to God but I can’t seem to stop! Is it just my nature to think surly things and say unkind words? No—we all have moods…joy, sadness, anger, crabbiness, etc. When I am joyful it is so easy for me to be loving and non-judgmental because I am feeling loving and kind. When I am crabby, tired, stressed, those kind thoughts and words can be so hard for me to find! But I do have choices. I can choose to make the words kind and try to chase those negative thoughts out of my mind.

In having these choices we get to thoughtfully consider the plight of others. This can help us avoid harsh judgement against other sinners…or when others disagree with our beliefs….or live differently than we do. Looking at others compassionately may not come naturally but its a choice we can make. We can choose to step back and look at someone and their sin and if we can really separate that person as a person and see the sin as a sin we can see the child created by God. This is compassion. This is love. Love is a choice not a feeling.

The Bible tells us how important it is that we love each other. In Romans 12:10 it reads:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” We know Jesus said that we need to love one another. Jesus knew all humans are sinners – he knew none of us had a right to judge another. He had love and compassion for every person he met during his time on Earth. He wanted us to love each other and be devoted to each other because humans need other humans to support them through life. Ephesians 4:32 says: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. As Christians we are so lucky to have salvation. The only reason I need salvation is because I am a sinner! It is only because of the unconditional love and compassion of God that I have received this gift of salvation. Better for us to love the sinner the way we, the sinner, want to be loved.

Where am I going with all this? I don’t know. It just seems that lately I have seen a lot of hate. I don’t even watch the news and I cannot get away from all the negativity and judgement. Maybe it is because we are in the midst of voting for president. Hackles seem to come up more easily during these times, I suppose. It just bothers me to see so much hate and judgement. It reminds me to try to be less judgmental as I am in no position to be a judge. Disagreement and differences can be healthy if love and compassion are put forth. We can actually learn from each other –and sometimes just agree to disagree. My view may be naïve but I try to take what I learn from the Bible and the important messages that are taught there. What is stressed most is love and compassion. This earthly home of ours is temporary. We can make a difference in this world by just trying a love a little more, judge a little less, and show lots of compassion. I am challenging myself to improve in my tendency to judge. I want to show more love and understanding….I am choosing to do this…how about you?

Thanks for reading!