God is teaching me compassion in the most peculiar way. See, usually when I think of showing compassion it is regarding the sick, downtrodden, the poor, those grieving, those in prison, or people who are not saved. In my case God is teaching me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ the way he loves them especially those new or weak in their faith. The Bible says, accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions (Roman 14:1). The keywords here are accept and non-judgment two areas that I have not been living by.
Very seldom do I think to myself am I showing compassion to my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I being loving to ALL of God’s people or just those who look and think like me? I think we all can relate to this if we really think about it.
For a while I have been dealing with a quick to speak quick to anger coworker. I have witnessed countless spurts of aggression time and time again rather it is directly to me or to someone else. I will say, sometimes he does come back and apologize.
We bonded over a mutual love for Christ, the fact that he was also a student in seminary, and a minister I training. With that being said, I had this understanding that we both understood how we should walk as followers of Christ. I assumed that we both were strong in the same area of being patience, serving, empathy, forgiveness, and the list goes on. However, I was shocked when I saw how his temperament did not reflect Christ like behavior. I was surprised to see that he was walking in his flesh. Seeing that I subconsciously did not want to accept this man as a brother in Christ and I began to pass judgment on his opinions (see Romans 14:1)
The first time it happened I shrugged it off and said to myself this is just the way he talks because he is from Philadelphia. However, I started to see it more often and other people said he did the same to them. He has gone off on me several times and it makes the working environment very uncomfortable.
In the beginning I just somewhat ignored his spurts of anger because they were not directly towards me, but just his general persona at work when addressed or frustrated in a situation. In all situatons rather. I said to myself if he really hears from God he would be moved by the Holy Spirit to be patience and slow to anger. Again, he often apologized to our other coworkers he had words with, but it was never directly to me. Seeing that behavior day by day, my attitude began to change towards my coworker especially because he was my brother in Christ. I believe my issue was that I was judging God’s child. I did not see any fruit from this believer so I did not accept him as Christ has already accepted him. All I saw was a man walking in the flesh, angry and impatient with the world around him.
Till this day I am very awkward around him because not only is he angry, but sometimes the conversations he sparks up seem like I am talking to someone of this world. I see how he reacts to situations of out his control. I see how he gossips about various situations, but I did not know how to address him because I just did not want him to snap on me. Thus, I continued to pray for a peaceful environment. God then began to speak to me about kindness. At the end of the day we are both supposed to be reflections of Christ and we work in an environment where many of the people around us walk in the flesh so we should be the light.
However, I have not been being loving. I speak and say hello but I am not exemplifying the love of Christ. It makes me as a believer look bad that I am not being kind. Again, I went into prayer and listened to God and he told me to be compassionate. I have watched my coworker who do not necessarily talk about their faith in Christ still accept our coworker in a loving way after he has gone off on them and yet I was not being a Christ like example myself. I believe I forgave the situation, but I did not forget which resulted in me not being very kind.
What is important is that I had to remember that we are created in the image of Christ. That means I should not see people by their sin. The Bible says man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God does not treat us the way we should be treated because of our sins. Instead, Christ offers us grace. In doing so, Christ forgives us of our sins and also FORGETS our sin. If he did not forget God would be angry with us. God is a loving father that welcomes us into his embrace despite our flaws. I too must accept my brothers and sisters in Christ despite their flaws.
The Bible says, the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23)
What that means is that God looks at our heart every day and sees it as blemish free. God allows us to repent of our sins and even if we do not flee from them, God’s love covers our sin so that we are not rejected from eternal life. God gives us a new chance every day to pursue his kingdom. Even though we fail God’s love does not fail. Although I am made of flesh and want to seek revenge or remain walking by un-forgiveness the Holy Spirit is fighting against the flesh to allow me to walk by the fruits of the spirt. One of those fruits is kindness. As I walk in kindness I am able to show compassion for my coworker who might be weak in his faith and accept and not judge his opinions (refer to Romans 14:1)
With that beign said, to those reading this remember the love of Christ. Remember the love that Christ g gives to you day by day. Even if your boss is rude, even if your coworker is messy, even if your supervisor is insane love them the way Christ loves you. Although It is much easier to show forgiveness or empathy to someone who has not given their life to Christ, and a lot harder not to judge our brothers and sisters still weak in various area of their faith in Christ. Remember to be compassionate to those weak in their faith. They also need love too.
It is God who transforms his children not man. Knowing that we must pray for our brothers and sisters to reach spiritual maturity. The Bible says, and we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all (1 Thessalonians 5:14). This verse is not just directed to those not saved but also for those of the body of Christ. We much make sure we are strengthening all parts for the body through prayer and supplication so it can function as one. Most importantly do not stray away from correcting your brothers and sisters in Christ in a loving way no matter how awkward the situation is. Always remember to speak based off scripture and do not add your own personal preferences. Lastly check your OWN heart before correcting your brother and sister in Christ.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Here are some verses to keep in mind if you find yourself forgiving and not forgetting.
1. Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. (Romans 14:1)
2. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
3. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
4. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Roman 3:23)
5. Judge not, that you be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)