In this impatient, rude and easily provoked society that we live in, its often hard to have happy loving feelings for people we come in contact with throughout the day. Media of most any kind seems to rouse social, racial, and religious tensions. Let’s face it. Our society has become riddled with hate.
I try to hold my tongue when it comes to politics. I know that arguing generally escalates the situation, and rarely if ever, changes the views of the opposing side. As the tension in this world continues to rise, it is extremely hard be overflowing with love and compassion for those who arrogantly oppose us and especially our Christian values.
It’s easy to lose our temper (speaking of myself here) and have less than kind thoughts about people who openly seek to suppress the message of the cross, and Jesus’ redemptive work. When someone says something hateful or degrading about our Lord and Savior we typically want to spring to His defense.
But, He doesn’t need us to defend Him. He didn’t call ten thousand angels to come and save Him from the agony of the cross, and He doesn’t need us to display hateful attitudes in an attempt to defend Him now. He is God.
Instead He has called us to love. Some days its harder to love than other days. Sometimes I have really hateful and disruptive women in the jail church services. I have had to bite my tongue many times. We often expect so much more from the lost than they are capable of delivering--inside or outside prisons walls. We have to remember…they are lost and in need of a Savior.
I’ve been praying for God to give me more love and compassion for the lost lately. I asked God to show me how to be more kind and loving. He instantly reminded me of an occurrence several years ago. I was living in Iowa and had stopped by my local dollar store to grab a few items.
At the check-out there was a dirty faced little blonde haired girl standing in front of me. Her clothes were dirty and ragged, her hair was unkempt, and she was standing there barefoot. She was counting pennies in her little change purse and placing them one by one on the counter.
My heart broke for this precious little one. Having a daughter not much older than her at the time, I couldn’t imagine this being my own child, alone, dirty, and possibly hungry. I quickly stepped up and paid for her things and told her to keep her money.
She smiled a big beautiful smile and said, “Thank you!” I hurried to try to catch her outside to see if I could get a little more information that might allow me to help her more. But, as soon as I exited the store she was long gone. I cried all the way home as I thought about the little girl. I couldn’t rest well that night wondering if she was okay.
You see it’s easy to have compassion on children. I wanted to scoop that little girl into my arms and just tell her how loved she was. I wanted to make sure all her needs were met, feed her, and comfort her. My heart broke for her and she wasn’t even my daughter.
As I was reflecting on this encounter that’s when Jesus spoke to my heart. He gently whispered, “That is how I see each person I have created—as a child. I too, long to take them into my arms and comfort them and provide for them. Even when they grow up they are still my children. And, I do not want them to be lost and alone.”
That hit me right in the feels! If we could only see others—no matter what age, or no matter how hateful—as that little girl in the check out line. If we could see them as God sees them; lost, confused, hopeless and in need of a comforter. If we could only see past the facade and into the depths of their hurting hearts. Then maybe, we could learn to love a little more like Jesus.
I’m praying to see past the hard outer shell, past the rage and hate, past the ungodly language and attitudes; and see the lost, hurting, confused, broken little child that Jesus sees inside them. Lord please help me to love them like You do—as a child.
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.