Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Extending Compassion to a Hurting World

The Bible tells us to laugh with those who laugh and to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). It also tells us to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). I saw both of these verses played out for me yesterday during a trip to Frenchy's. As I was mindlessly sorting though bed linens a stranger approached me and called me by my name. She then introduced herself and said what a lot of people have said since we lost our son, "I understand". 

Now, let me make it clear right now that not everyone who says this actually does understand. How could they unless they had been through the same thing? But this woman did. Four years ago her son died suddenly. She knew my grief. Here we were, two broken mothers, standing in Frenchy's totally oblivious to anyone around us, sharing our grief through tears and words of comfort over the loss of our sons. 

We comforted each other. We spoke of our sons. We shared stories and we were instantly connected by a common bond. She lives near the cemetery where our son's body is buried and has been to his grave. I now have someone else to pray for. I'm glad she was willing to step out of her comfort zone to approach a stranger in Frenchy's and extend the hand of compassion.

We all need to be brave and compassionate like her. We live in a world that is in turmoil. Thousands and thousands of people are displaced from their homes because of wars yet many times when they are forced to go to another country to begin anew, they are met with hatred and hostility. As Christians we should be showing compassion to these people and offering comfort. 

There is a horrible political race being run in the United States right now. Who will triumph? Will it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Only God knows, but that doesn't stop people from throwing their opinion around and in the most hateful ways they can think of. The horrible comments on Facebook or the news about the candidates don't bother me as much when they are made by non Christians but when I see some of the comments made by those who profess to be Christians it grieves my heart.

God has called us to be set apart; to be different than the rest of the world. We are to speak and act kindly and to show His love in every situation. Walt Disney created the sweet character called Thumper in his movie Bambi. Thumper was a young rabbit who was outspoken. One day, after he had said something that wasn't particularly kind, his mother asked him "Thumper what did your father say?" to which he replied: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." 

Can you imagine how much nicer our world would be if we all followed Thumper's father's advice? What if we greeted the foreigner with kindness? What if we kept silent about the gossip of politicians and focused instead on the issues? What if we stepped out of our comfort zone and approached a stranger we knew had experienced a heartache? If we acted like this we'd become more Christlike and the world could be a better place. As representatives of Christ, Christians have the obligation to be different than the people in the world who are not serving Christ. We need to let our light shine before men so the world will see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).

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