Sunday Sermon Summary 2: Now is the Time for Compassion!
This week the primary topic in Pastor’s sermon was Compassion. It shouldn’t take too long to think of someone who needs to be more compassionate. Perhaps you can look at the current presidential candidates, or maybe you’ll look at someone closer to you. There is even a small chance that the person that needs more compassion in their lives is you!
“Compassion is being concerned enough to do something about it.” This is how Pastor described someone who displays compassion. This is more than simply being kind all the time. There is a driving force behind compassion. A more focused effort is required.
Being nice or compassionate toward someone is not always an easy thing to do. There are expressions like “kill them with kindness.” This is all well and good in a Hollywood movie, but what happens when this just doesn’t play out very well in reality? We know that God is the author or love, and we know that Jesus displayed great compassion. We also know that Jesus said the infamous phrase “turn the other cheek.” Perhaps compassion is not always the most popular topic to talk about because it is difficult command.
God displays compassion first.
God’s compassion is made evident in the opening passage of Scripture that was used for the sermon.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
If God displays this kind of attitude then it is something that would show display in our lives. Compassion is not supposed to end with God giving it to us. Rather “the gift of His compassion toward us should inspire our own compassion for others, leading us to service–service not out of obligation, but thankfulness.” It is the idea that God first loved us, so we are able to love others. When we are filled
with God’s love and compassion, we are inspired to thankfully go out and do the same for others. God wants us to pay it forward.
Therefore, it does not matter if our compassion is well received. We are not doing it out of pride; we are doing it out of our love for God, and the love that he gives to us. It is not our problem to be concerned with the way people handle our compassion. They may hate us for it, they may become jealous because of it, or they may loves us for it and go and do the same. Either way, we are to live compassionately because God wants us to. This should always be a good enough answer.
As Gods People
Christians live by a different set of standards than the rest of the world. They live by God’s standards, the greatest standards. God commands us to live a certain way that is often counter-cultural. We are in the world not of the world. In order to get an idea of the expectations for living as God’s child, pastor provided the following passage:
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
As you can see, there is a lot more to it than just being nice to people. It is an entire lifestyle that is radically different from the lives people live in the world. This is what makes us stand out! This is what makes the world stop and look at us differently. They see us acting differently, and somehow better. This is what attracts people to the Spirit of God and the body of Christ. Live righteously so that others can learn to follow.
Compassion and the Fruit of the Spirit
Pastor said that we should ask ourselves the question: “who needs you to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives?” We are then to list their names and ask God to help us when dealing with difficult people. This should be fairly easy for us to do. Unless you work with perfect people, and have perfect neighbors, and you yourself are perfect, we are going to come into contact with people who need us to display the characteristics of God.
The final part of the sermon focused on what these characteristics or attitudes actually are. Pastor said that we should circle the ones we need help with. If you are anything like me, there is probably more
than one that you are going to have to circle. There may even be a majority that we have to circle. This is all right. After all, you have to start somewhere.
While you are asking God for help with the ones that you circled, you should also thank him for the ones that you do not have to circle. For example, I do not have to circle the word patience. This is something that I believe God has blessed me with. Most of my life I have had to deal with some very difficult people. However, this has caused me to have great patience with people as well. Where most people would be frustrated and give up on someone, I am normally willing to take the extra time it takes to help someone, or deal with someone who is upset. (I actually consider this one of my greatest strengths).
Here is the list of traits that Pastor provided:
There are many more attitudes that we should work on in our lives, but this should be enough to focus on for now. Hopefully this list helps you to notice some weak points in your life and provides you with a basis for prayer. Ask God to help you in these areas. Then, actually try to make the necessary changes in your life. By doing these two things, you will become a better child of God, and a better member of society.