Tag Archives: compassion

Snap Judgments

We have all made snap judgments of persons by the way they look. I am often initially influenced by others’ dress, hygeine, tattoos, piercings, I notice the way they behave or interact, be they bossy, cranky, or inappropriate. After spending some time with them, I  later discover  they live our values of caring, love, and gratitude. As part of my morning prayer time with God, I am reading a wonderful book titled Boundless Compassion by Joyce Rupp. Today Joyce talked about “walking a mile in another person’s shoes,” so that we can look upon their heart rather than judge their outward appearance and/or behaviour.

Shifting from judgment to compassion is not easy. I tend to call the process acceptance: letting others just be themselves. After years of working at it, I am becoming better at seeing the person within, rather than their outward appearance. At times, fear can still overwhelm me when I meet with a  tall, assertive man whose size or color feels intimidating.  When it comes to behaviour, I am still at the self-talk step. At least my first response to a person’s sharp tongue is no longer hurt or anger. Instead, I feel surprise. At that point I choose to imagine reasons for their behaviour, my first step in looking on their heart.

Today’s reading from Boundless Compassion reminded me of the importance of continuing on my journey into acceptance. As I focused on Joyce Rupp’s words. I felt affirmed in my progress so far and challenged for the journey ahead. She reminded me that I did not want to lapse back into self-righteousness, just because I was better at ignoring the outward appearance. In fact, my goal is not to ignore, but to accept the person as I encounter them. This will give me the courage and the freedom to search out the story behind the tattoos or the crustiness. Those stories will lead me to the person’s heart. And there I know I will discover God’s presence.

  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Give a gift of faith as well as fun for Christmas this year. Check out Janet Stobie’s books for children and adults at www.janetstobie.com

 

How Do I Issue the Invitation of Faith?

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As Christians, we know that God is with us, giving us strength, guidance, and challenge. Many times, I’ve heard others say, “I never would have gotten through Susie’s death without God, and without the support of my church family.” Consequently, we want others to have faith, too.

How do we make people understand the strength and joy, the wisdom and comfort that come with faith? How do we compete in this crazy world where every minute is filled with activity and work?

Jesus didn’t compete. He issued invitations to James and John. They immediately left their nets and followed him. Were they the only ones he asked? What about the ones who said, “Not interested, too busy, can’t.” They wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. They missed the adventure.

Regardless of how many said no, some said yes. His following became large enough to be a problem for the religious leaders and the Romans. Why did some accept his invitation?

As I read the stories, I see that Jesus did more than issue invitations. He lived what he taught. He lived acceptance of everyone, even when he received criticism. He lived compassion and kindness, even when he was tired. Jesus passionately lived what he believed. People met him, watched him, listened to him, saw him in action, experienced his love, and they believed. They joined his group.

St. Paul wrote to tell us to live so that when people get to know us, they will have met Jesus. That’s our calling, our life’s work as Christians. In everything we say and everything we do, whether it’s standing in line at the grocery store, working at the office, or cooking dinner at home, we can choose to let Jesus’ compassion, acceptance, love shine through us. Only then will others want to make faith a priority in their busy lives.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 4:20)