Sacrificial Compassion. Two words that often you do not see in the same place at the same time. Why? Because the concept of compassion itself gives the idea that someone feels a sense of empathy, and even sympathy toward a person due to the individuals misfortune. We see television commercials on this subject, hear powerfully written speeches focused on this concept, and even books sold on how being a kind and compassionate person leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle. The saying is "there is a gift in giving," right? All of these things are good things, things that should be pressed into and pursued.
But, what happens when God calls us to a kind of compassion that stirs the uncomfortable parts of our hearts? The kind of compassion that requires one to lay down their own pride, their justifying heart, and love on those who have not loved, and will not know how to love in return.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the feeling of joy we receive when we give to a stranger in need, please do not misunderstand me. However in the same way we give to those in need and those we love, making difference in the world around us must goes beyond ONLY a good feeling. This part of love requires showing the kind of compassion that the world says you would be foolish to.
It's being kind to those who have not been kind to you. It's praying for the ones who have hurt you, when every single bit of your being wants to do otherwise. It is doing the right thing in God's eyes because it is the right thing to do. What is Sacrificial Compassion? It is allowing the Spirit of the Lord to come into the inner corners of your heart, and pull your into surrender. It is often times the first step to forgiveness. We hear the term "Sacrificial Praise" in Hebrews 13:15; oftentimes indicating that a person praises God when they are deeply hurting, and want to do everything BUT praise Him.
Sacrificial Compassion is not much different in that you are choosing to allow God to use you in the life of a person who hurt you, or someone else that you may be struggling to forgive. I know for me, this was something in my life that God showed me and told me to apply as I struggled with forgiveness. As I prayed for and showed kindness to the person I felt bitterness toward, over time it became easier to show compassion because I realized that no longer was I doing it to please THEM and win THEIR affirmation and love, but rather to please CHRIST and ACCEPT His affirmation, and fall into His grace as He healed my heart.
The moment I realized I did not need this persons approval as I loved on them, was the moment I was set free from the bondage of my hopeful expectation. I no longer expected and hoped for their love and fellowship in return, because I had a far greater love that sought me out and affirmed me in all of the areas that they did not; the love, affirmation and friendship of Jesus.
Even though there were plenty of times I certainly did not feel like showing compassion and kindness, the more I did, the stronger I became spiritually and emotionally, and was able to overcome the mountain of unforgivness that for years kept me from feeling freedom.Through God's grace I was set free from deep rooted bitterness. How? Not because of myself, but because of He who called me to sacrifice the pride that justified my anger, and serve without expectation of love in return. You see, we live in world that believes in showing compassion to someone only if they have not done you wrong, only if they are deemed deserving of what you have to offer.
Sacrificial compassion is choosing compassion every day toward someone who has hurt you, and you do not know how to forgive. Sacrificial compassion is praying for God to heal the hurt in the heart of a person who has afflicted you. To bless someone who has come against you without excuse, or even reason. It is choosing kindness when you have every single logical reason in the world to throw hatred and cutting words toward someone who has done nothing but left you with a broken heart, and cut to the core.
Sacrificial compassion is CHOOSING to see the circumstance, even long term, that could have shaped someone's behavior, even though there is no justification as to why you were pulled into their negativity. Now, to clarify, this article is in no way stating that you must remain silent and submit yourself to toxic and / or abusive friendships, relationships, or acquaintanceship. In fact I believe very strongly in using your voice to speak truth and correction into any relational situation that has gone awry, because there is importance in establishing boundaries, and correcting in love (Matthew 18:15-17).
So as you continue reading this article, I want you to think deep, and think hard about someone you struggle with right now. Who is the person that you are attempting to justify your bitterness toward as your read this article? In the midst of your conflict, I urge you, choose sacrificial compassion, because often times it is the first step in forgiveness.
You see, compassion is something the world mistakes for weakness. Society finds it weak that an individual would choose to be compassionate and kind toward someone who has caused hurt, but you see sacrificial compassion is a STRENGTH that can only be attained through a soft heart. Sacrificial compassion is a strength for the sole reason that it take laying down one's means for justice, ones pride, and choosing to serve in SPITE of pain.
It does not take strength to hold bitterness. It takes strength to choose love and forgive when everything and everyone around you says to justify your HURT through HATE. It is hard to choose, that is why it is so rare. At times you do not feel the healing, but that is when you have to stay faithful to the journey, because your emotions often catch up to the internal transformation that takes place when you truly allow the Lord to take control.
It takes faith to forgive. It is painful in the journey, but oh does the freedom found in true forgiveness far exceed the hurt that imprisons one who chooses to dwell in their bitterness. Kindness is a CHOICE. Compassion is a CHOICE. Unforgiveness, is a CHOICE. FREEDOM is a choice. What will you choose?
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