Monday, October 11, 2010
Some Days Loving Others Hurts! - Using Your Gifts
It was my first visit to a member of my church in the hospital. I had just returned from an amazing healing conference and I was on fire for God. I felt like I could empty the place out. So I went in the room, and there sat a fellow that I didn't know well. We chatted for a bit; small talk mostly. There I stood with my Bible, and not much else to say. I asked if I could pray. I sort of felt defeated when he said that pastor had already been there and had prayed for him. I thought to myself, "we'll you're still sick." I mumbled a prayer; not expecting too much. Then I excused myself, and went home.
Part of the problem was that I was without compassion. I was simply looking to get God to heal this man. I didn't really care about him - well not like one of my own kids.
This week, your faithful Kingdom bloggers are going to write about compassion. I am sure that it will be a deep and inspiring week of Kingdom blogs.
Not many years later I went to ministry school. I had finished Bible school in the 80's and some classes at the seminary. The call of God on my life was deepening as I lived through the 90's. Now it was time to learn how to minister, not just preach a message, or learn theology. Our weekly classes including teaching on character, the spiritual gifts, and always had a time of impartation and healing. I was learning to hear God's voice, and God was starting to do some exciting stuff.
After a few months, we finally had a class on listening. It used a popular scale of listening that included 8 steps. I couldn't do it. I didn't know what empathy or compassion was. I felt horrible. No wonder people didn't sense my love! I only knew how to identify with others feelings - to compare them to my own. What I needed to learn was how Jesus saw them.
I went home and felt like such a failure as a Christian - and I felt like hypocrite.
I began to pray - wishing God would just fix me - the easy way out. Lord you need to show me how to really care about someone. All I could think of was loving my neighbor as myself - and I wasn't loving me all that well in those days.
If you follow my blogs, you know that I went to Brazil to minister a few times. The first time I as there, we did a meeting at the Presbyterian Church in Londrina. There were about 400 folks there and the spirit of God was amazing! I came to a man in line, and I just knew that he had killed his father. So, I said to him, "what you have done to your father, the Father in Heaven forgives you." He fell to his knees and wept for most of the meeting. I didn't get all the details, but he was desperate for the forgiveness.
As I was reflecting on what had happened, the Lord softly spoke to me. "David, it is my compassion that the world needs, not yours." I stayed awake most of the night just pondering that.
Finally, I asked God, "all I need to do is have your compassion?"
"And my love, and my grace, and my healing for it is all in the Holy Spirit which is already in you."
I confess it took a few more years to get that the new man was already perfect, loving and compassionate and all I needed to do was let him out.
Today I let the Lord decide how he wants me to spend my love, my grace and my compassion. In recent weeks, he has given me three guys for which I am supposed to be praying. One lost his job and is in a tight spot. Another is suffering from kidney failure and regularly requires dialysis. The third is suffering from a serious form of cancer. He's had 2 rounds of chemo therapy, radiation and a surgery to remove half his lung - and his tumor got bigger.
Sometimes the compassion of the Lord is just communicating His love. It is connecting with the Father on the behalf of someone else and hoping and having faith that Father will do what we cannot. I do that with prayer, phone calls, text messages and emails. I have discovered that you don't really have to know someone well to have compassion - well except for Jesus.
How about you, do you want to pray for my friends too?