If there is one thing working in the medical field taught me it was compassion. Yet it also taught me that as a human my ability to show compassion has a limit. It is kind of like our love tank. When our love tank is empty we find it difficult to give love. Compassion is similar, when we ourselves feel no compassion from others we ourselves can find it hard to give out compassion.
When I left my parent’s house at the age of 18 I have to admit I had some sympathy for certain things but in other ways I was a hard ass. I was raised in a culture where there is almost pride in being tuff. To have pain, suffering and the likes but to just push through it was honored and encouraged. So for most of my young adult life I did this. When I saw others unable to push through the pain as I seemed to be able to I would have some sympathy but I also did not completely get it. It was not until my mid twenties when I became so sick I was completely unable to function, plow through and live that I learned what it felt like to be completely helpless. I learned what it felt like to be completely at the mercy of others to do things I could not. I found this humiliating.
There have been many who have criticized me. Many who have failed to show me compassion. Many who have not been sympathetic. But among all those people the person who has shown me the least compassion is myself. I often do not allow myself to have self compassion. In doing so my compassion tank will stay empty and my ability to give others compassion is also limited
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” Psalms 103:13
In order for me to have self compassion I have to first admit that I have a weakness. I have to admit I have vulnerabilities. I have to admit my need for forgiveness of sins. I have to admit my need for the grace offered through Jesus. When I come to terms with that need and receive the grace offered to me I feel the compassion of my loving father. If my Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe is able to accept, forgive and show compassion to me a lowly sinful women then who am I to not show myself this same compassion and grace?
My understanding of the compassion of my Heavenly Father has help me have sympathy and compassion for others. Now I often find myself frustrated that even though I have compassion and sympathy for another, it does not mean I have the ability to fix or alleviate others suffering. All I can do is offer it to God in prayer. Asking that God would heal them, forgive them, restore them and give them peace. The rest is up to God. This takes some of the burden off. The knowledge that God is above all things. He hears our prayers and he to has compassion on us his children. He knows our sufferings and we do have the promise that one day all suffering will be wiped away but until that time he calls us to endurance.
So I pray for those today who are struggling in one way or another. That God would bless you with his Spirit. That he would renew you, restore you, give you strength and endurance. But I also want to encourage you to examine your compassion tank. If it is full may it overflow to others. For there are many who need to feel the real tangible compassion of our Heavenly Father. Amen.