|Art by Nola Chandler from Pinterest.|
This art is by Nola Chandler. Illustrated Scripture comes to life. Why did we let that art form die down for so many years? It is back and it is good!
What a simple passage. Short. Easy to memorize. Hard to live out in our day to day living.
Oh sure, it is easy when we get up in the morning to have the best intentions; life happens and the intention changes to a goal. Movement toward the goal takes self-control and one kind and compassionate decision after the next.
Mother Theresa recommend praying constantly and speaking as little as possible. That is a real challenge for the word lovers of the world. It is a solid and good recommendation, but it isn't easy... especially if you like words.
Be kind and compassionate to one another. -Ephesians 4:32.
"Then, Lord, I need you to remove the bee from my bonnet. Amen"
What are the things that cause the sting? Do we know the triggers that keep us from responding with kindness and compassion? Some of them are obvious. Others, not so much.
They are not always things. If we only had to contend with "things" it would be far less difficult. Things are by nature, predictable. People... including the person in the mirror... are not.
When others appear to be "the source"... we can reframe it. For me... traffic woes are irritating. I have a three minute commute. They are most irritating when I have not allowed enough wiggle room in my schedule for what I face at my destination. I can lose my positive attitude in a two minute wait. Silly right? The decision is there... staring at me in the rearview mirror (I might as well check my hair and make-up while I wait.).
Sometimes we know our triggers, other times our buttons get pushed and we respond before we even consider we had a choice. Fight or flight? The knee-jerk reaction happens. When something occurs that feels like a knee in the gut... we respond in a way that is unexpected, out of character and a shock... not only to those around us, but to ourselves. Oh, the guilt and the shame of that moment!
Jesus didn't say "Be kind and compassionate to me." He said, "Love me. Show me you love me by how you treat each other. It is the way the world will know me and know you are my disciples." We cannot love him and treat others shamefully.
"Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Jesus taught us to pray in that way. He didn't need that part of the prayer, but we do. Like a drowning victim gasping for air, we need his forgiveness to breathe again.
When we breathe him in... intentionally through his Word, prayer and the Holy Spirit's presence... we can breathe again. That soul breath restored in relationship.
No C.O.P.D. (Chronic Omission of Prayer Deficiency)!
In Him, we live, and move and have our being. In Him, we truly live. We can inhale His grace and exhale kindness and compassion. He is the source.
Today, I am grateful kindness and compassion are more than adjectives.