Floored by Compassion

I love watching movies with certain people just to watch their reactions. I have a friend who is easily surprised and will let you know when something in the film has taken her aback. We’d be watching a movie at my apartment when suddenly, complete with flailing arms for extra dramatic effect, she’d begin yelling at the television, expressing her shock or distaste at whatever happened. I’m the exact opposite of my friend. Rarely do I have big reactions, especially while watching movies. Often I’ll be quietly analyzing the film, the characters, the scene, and predicting what will happen. Rarely do I get caught up in the emotions of the storyline, but I submerge myself in the technical aspects of movies.

While watching a movie, it’s easy for me to turn off my emotions and focus solely on facts. The first time I watched Hunger Games, I turned off my compassion and went into warrior mode. I imagined myself in the movie and what I would do to win. I couldn’t understand why Katniss did the things she did because they were illogical. When in my warrior, winning, “I will be victorious” mindset, I couldn’t relate to a scared girl who was confused and just trying to survive and not be consumed by hate.

My journey through life has been much the same way. I am always analyzing, rarely emoting, because that’s easier. Feeling and relating is a messy business. Empathy is the art of putting yourself in someone’s shoes and experiencing what they experienced. This is hard and vulnerable and wonderful all at the same time. When you’re able to connect with someone like that, it can change their entire day.

God has compassion on us, though we don’t deserve it. Over and over again in the gospels, Jesus had compassion for the people around him. He was merciful to them. He was empathetic and generous. He didn’t berate them or give the people “10 steps to a more healthy you”; he cared and he showed it.

The amazing thing is that God’s compassion wasn’t just available back in Bible times, but is accessible to us today. Lately there’s been a hint of worry rolling around in the back of my mind. It’s been small and hardly worth mentioning. When it would rise up, I would give it to God, reassure myself of the facts, and then move on. And yet, God cares about and has compassion for even that little amount of worry. I might try to brush it off, but he sees it and knows it. Today, I have 2 opportunities that will silence out that small voice of worry. God is showing me that, even in the things I don’t dare to speak of, he’s compassionate.

Are there things in your life that you are worried about that you dare not voice? It might be the fear of never finding someone to share your life with. Or it could be worry about never succeeding in your vocation or passion. Your concern might be that you’ll never be forgiven of that one unspeakable thing, though you would never tell that to anyone else. Whatever your unvoiced concern is, God has compassion for that thing. Bring your worries, your fears, your concerns, no matter how silly or minuscule or huge they may be to Him and experience the compassionate embrace of a loving Father.

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