Focus: Finding the gift of compassion
Philippians 2:2-4 (NKJV) Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Some people live their whole life and never know what they are gifted to do. One reason why many people don’t understand their gifting is because they have the wrong expectations. Another reason might be because they are trying to live up to the expectations of others.
The easiest way to discover your special gifting is by looking at your past. What kind of trials have you had? What have you suffered? In depression and dependency, a lot of suffering goes on…and on…and on…and on. Few people seem to suffer briefly with depression or dependency—not that it isn’t possible for the experience to be brief—it just seems that it usually takes a while to get past that kind of trial. Often, people who battle with depression and dependency are hit more than once with the problem. But once the problem is in the past, the ‘ability to overcome’ that kind of trial—becomes ‘a gift’.
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Part of the reason why so many people continue to struggle, is that there are so few qualified care-givers with the true gift of compassion. Some are trained, but not ‘experienced’—or ‘gifted’. Someone who hasn’t ‘been there’ can try to help ‘by the book’, but the help they give may not be as effective as the help received from someone who once struggled in the same areas. The person who struggled and overcame—has a true gift of compassion and is able to comfort from another level.
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is known as ‘the Father of mercies’ and ‘the God of all comfort’. He comforts us when we are in tribulation. No human can comfort us the way our ‘Father God’ can. His comfort is better than any human comfort.
When we have received consolation from the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, we become ‘a carrier’ of His mercy and comfort. It isn’t that we ‘become God’, it’s that we become carriers of the help He gives. When we are faced with someone who is struggling in an area where we have struggled, we are not only able to empathize with them, but we can lead them to our Heavenly Father, who is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
There is a beautiful story told by Jesus in Luke 10:30-35.
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed—leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a certain Priest came down that road, and when he saw the wounded man, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where the wounded man was. And when the Samaritan saw him, he had compassion. So he went to the man and poured oil and wine on his wounds and applied bandages. He set the man on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
On the next day, when the Samaritan departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”
There is nothing to prove my theory about this story, but I like to imagine that the Samaritan had once traveled that same dangerous road and was attacked in a similar manner. The Priest and the Levite had never been through anything like that. When they saw the wounded man they had no idea how to relate to him. They were only concerned for their own safety, so they passed by on the other side of the road—or ‘kept their distance’. The Samaritan knew exactly how the wounded man felt and couldn’t leave him in that condition. It’s possible the Samaritan cared for the wounded man in the same way someone else had cared for him in his own time of need.
When you come to the place on your recovery journey where you are able to turn your attention to others, you will find you have the gift of being able to relate to their suffering on a special level. The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t just ‘sympathize’ with them. Those who are wounded need to be taken to a place of true safety—our Father of mercies who is the God of all comfort. As you keep directing them to Him—in time—they may find the same comfort you found…and it’s possible they could receive their own ‘gift’ that they may someday share with others.
Declaration: I will find new strength by discovering that my gift is to share the mercy and comfort I have received from Father God with others who need Him.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.