About the Author: Dee Ann Higgins
Kindness. Concern. Mercifulness. Tenderhearted. Gentleness. Understanding. Humility. Patience. Generous Love.
These words define and expand the meaning of ‘compassion’. To be compassionate toward another is to show them kindness, concern, mercy, gentleness, to be tender-hearted toward them, with humility and patience and generous love. Compassion receives its energy from love. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is gentle and consistently kind. Love finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is the Source of all that is good.
How many places in your life do you practice compassion? Have you ever stopped to think about the places you practice compassion? Allow me to bring a few to your mind.
If you are a parent, then DAILY!!
If you have a spouse, then DAILY!!
If you have parents, then DAILY!!
If you have a friend, then DAILY!!
If you are an employee, then DAILY!!
If you are in any form of leadership, then DAILY!!
If you support any type of organization that cares for others giving of your time, energy and/or resources, you are practicing compassion.
Apparently, you practice compassion. Congratulations!!! Your kindness, concern, care for others, tenderheartedness, patience, and understanding contribute to the well-being of multiple people in your life.
Yes, even if you don’t practice it all the time, every day. You have the capacity and the skill to show compassion, and likely use this skill frequently in your daily life.
Which brings me to the one person in your life left out from the list above.
Do you show yourself compassion? Are you kind to yourself? Are you tender-hearted and patient with yourself? Do you allow your heart to expand with mercy towards yourself?
Or are you a harsh task-master towards yourself, demanding perfection in all areas of your life: parenting, as employer/employee, in your relationships and in your creative expressions?
Can you feel the difference just reading that last sentence? How constricted it is compared to the first paragraph that feels open and accepting? I have to take a deep breath after writing it!
Here’s the thing – in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 4 verses 1-3, Paul writes:
As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love, stretching toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny. (The Passion Translation)
Paul defines walking holy as tender humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love. When we extend those qualities to others, yet hold them back for ourselves, we are dipping from a shallow stream. It requires us to give what we haven’t received. God’s design for us is to receive from Him, contain what He gives, and then share it with those around you. His first and primary purpose is to give to you; for you to receive, to be filled, to experience His tender humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love toward you. THEN you have an overflowing river to pour out onto others.
I mean, ‘those who may try your patience’ require a BIG source of humility, patience, gentleness and generous love!!
How can you preserve harmony if you are not harmonious with yourself? First receive from our Source, and then you have a Source for others.
Be kind to yourself.
Be tenderhearted to yourself.
Be compassionate to yourself.
Be understanding to yourself.
Our heavenly Father is kind, tenderhearted, compassionate and understanding towards you. His heart overflows with loving kindness towards you. When He thinks about you, His eyes light up with joy. Receive it.
The more you receive and believe His heart of goodness toward you, you will find that the desire and ability will grow in you to walk holy – which again, does NOT mean perfect, but means with tender humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.
Can you imagine a world where we treat each other this way? And not because ‘we are supposed to’, or because, ‘my mama told me if I didn’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all’. But because kindness, patience, tenderness, and humility fill us from our heavenly Father, then it can flow from us like a river.
Here is your To-Do list to cultivate a heart of compassion:
1. Receive. Rest in His giant compassionate heart for you. Receive His tender-heart for you. Look into His eyes and see His passionate love for you. Run into His open arms and let Him hold you. Allow Him to sing over you. You are His treasure.
2. Apply His compassion, love, tenderness, patience, acceptance, humility, and gentleness to you. All over you, like you are swimming in it.
3. THEN, after Receive and Apply, you will have a full bucket to bring compassion with you into every room and every relationship.