Compassion with Shoes On

I read a beautiful article by Tony Roos on compassion this morning and saw this phrase which intrigued me:

If you do a search on the compassion of Christ you see each time that word is used for him it is coupled with an action that he gives to alleviate the suffering the he encounters.

So, I went to biblegateway.com and typed the keyword “compassion” and found the verses below. I had to see for myself. Hmm, maybe this is a good sign – – I’m testing Christian leaders and seeking out answers myself, not following blindly. How did Jesus show compassion? What did he DO?

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matt 14:14

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matt 15:32

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34

“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. Mark 8:2

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:13

YES! Tony Roos was right. When Jesus had compassion, it motivated him to action. Look at the definition of compassion:

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

Here was another verse that came up in the verse search:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Col 3:12

This verse is saying that we are to “put on” compassion. So maybe this implies that we might not have compassion to begin with, but regardless, we are to have compassionate hearts. This is what God wants us to have. Fair enough. That works for me. Give it to me. I want compassion.

I want to be like Christ. I want to have compassion with action where feet move to meet, where hands reach out to touch, where ears listen, where mouth encourages and brings grace. Love is just like this, too, isn’t it? Compassionate people were moved to action on Wednesday when I was down. Those compassionate people with their move to action helped to bring me out of my funk. Christ worked through them, representatives of Christ, and reached my soul. Compassion is Jesus action.

Let’s now turn this around to some of our church leaders for a bit. One of the things we’ve come to realize about cases of spiritual abuse, neglect, abandonment is these pastors and leaders who were supposed to be caring for our souls like Christ would, failed to do so. Not only did some of them fail, they have an established pattern of what I would call, anti-shepherding. There will be times we and our church leaders will fail to be compassionate. I’m not talking about that, but an established pattern:

  • When pastors protected the church’s image and kept pedophiles in the church rather than reporting to civil authorities of crimes, that was not showing sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
  • When a head pastor over a franchise of churches (ie, Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel) said his hands were tied and couldn’t do anything about the scores and scores of personal accounts of abuse at the hands of Pastor Bob Grenier, he was not showing sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

These men busy themselves doing a form of religiosity, making sure their doctrine is just right, having a showy appearance of Christianese, write books, speak at conferences, but they lack love and compassion. Isn’t that what the bible calls a Pharisee?

I think in our minds, we still try to keep them in that position or title of “pastor.” We need to change that. When we see blatant lack of compassion in our church leaders, an established pattern in which they are behaving like anti-shepherds, we need to fire them from that position in our minds. We also need to vote with our feet. I don’t think God would call them shepherds of His flock, why should we?

There is a very important reason why we need to do this. We can wreak spiritual chaos in our minds when we continue to keep them in our minds as a “pastor.” The spiritual chaos is because these guys sometimes DO speak the right things. Much of what they say IS absolutely right, but when what they DO conflicts with their message, we have a problem. We must dethrone them. They are not worthy of any titles. They are fake. They just babble with their mouths. These are not our leaders. We cannot treat them as such. They distort Who God is. Let’s leave this wretched stench behind, people. It is not of God.

36 comments on “Compassion with Shoes On

  1. Do you think Chuckie is taking his sermon content from Julie Anne now?

    Like

  2. Yes, for sure. Makes you wonder what he said. Would it be like some of the pastors at the church I left; they know the words but do not live what they say?

    This is really a great article. I read it several times. Sometimes something just resonates deep within and this is one of those for me. I’ve emailed it to quite a few people. Maybe if we could get people to fire them from the positions in their minds, they could learn to vote with their feet (leave the church) and that would result in cleaning house of a lot of abusers. Nah… it won’t happen.

    Like

  3. Ang, like Drew said in his interview, the abusers will remain. We need to figure out how to work that out in our minds- our spiritually abused minds, that is. Other people will process that differently than we will. That’s important to note.

    Like

  4. JA, i think a lot of it stems from congregations and pastors misunderstanding Jesus’ words telling us that to become first in the Kingdom we are to become last here, to become as servants. Jesus Himself will elevate the ones that lower themselves; the congregations and servants aren’t supposed to be the ones to elevate the servant.

    Like

  5. I am so glad that your brain refuses to stop! I dedicate Jewels song to you with some editing ( :
    Love, Kindness, Compassion. In the end, that is all that is going to matter, when each one of us look into the tender face of Jesus. I doubt titles, prestige, Reverend, Pastor, Dr. will be given the respect that the bad shepherds receive here on earth.
    “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.
    Galatians 5:6 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
    Now for some music: http://youtu.be/lk0bKfC8XSE
    If I could tell the world *wounded believers* just one thing
    It would be that we’re all OK- * we will be OK*
    And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful- worry happens but we can ask Jesus to sit in our worries with us.
    And useless in times like these- * consider the lilies…
    I won’t be made useless- * I am going to tell my story*
    I won’t be idle with despair- *I was in despair- but rising, slowly
    I will gather myself around my faith- * Those creeps are not going to steal my faith.
    For light does the darkness most fear- * Keep bring the light J.A.
    My hands are small, I know-* that’s ok if I share with just one it impacts the many
    But they’re not yours, they are my own-* our hands together can love a lot of folks.
    But they’re not yours, they are my own-* the body works together in harmony.
    And I am never broken- *Julie you have been broken open- and you spill such freedom on us who were crushed in Spirit.
    Poverty- *Pharisee’s* stole your golden shoes
    It didn’t steal your laughter- amen.
    And heartache came to visit me-*and because others shared, I know am not alone
    But I knew it wasn’t ever after- *that is the purpose of what happens here
    We’ll fight, not out of spite- *Yup, yours and many hearts here are for the hurting!
    For someone must stand up for what’s right!!!!! * lots of folks standing up here.
    ‘Cause where there’s a man who has no voice-* so many of us lost our voice
    There ours shall go singing
    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    I am never broken-* I am broken open
    In the end only kindness-*compassion matters
    In the end only kindness* love matters
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    And I am never broken- *not permanently I pray
    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s mind
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s heart
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s eyes
    We are God’s hands
    We are God’s hands. Amen & amen.

    Like

  6. Beautiful Mandy….

    Thank-You for reminder of HIS gentleness in the song you shared.

    “The gentle healer came into our town today He touched my eyes and the Darkness left to stay But more than the blindness He took their sins away.
    The gentle healer came into our town today. He spoke one word that was all he had to say And one who had dies just rose up straight away The gentle healer came into our town today. Oh he seems like just an ordinary man With dirty feet and rough but gentle hands But the words he says are hard to understand Yet he seems like just an ordinary man
    The gentle healer He left our town today I just looked around and found he’d gone away Some folks from town who followed him they
    The gentle healer is the truth, the life, the way The gentle healer it the truth, the life, the way”

    Like

  7. This is so very true. Even when the Bible doesn’t use the word compassion, you can see the compassion in Jesus’ acts. Jesus not only had compassion for the physical needs of people, he had compassion for their emotional needs as well. Jesus did have compassion on the crowds of people, but he would so often single out individuals who were down and needed to feel loved.

    Jesus would touch the leper who had been an outcast and hadn’t had human contact in years (Mark 1:41-42).

    Jesus would eat with Zacchaeus, whom people never noticed and yet reviled because he was a tax collector (Luke 19:1-10).

    Jesus had compassion on the woman who had bleeding issues for 12 years (and was thus ceremonally unclean under Mosaic law and had to live in isolation). When she touched his robe, she was healed, but Jesus went further by seeking her out, calling her “daughter” and letting her know she was loved (Mark 5:25-34).

    Jesus had compassion on the woman caught in adultery. Under the law, she could have been killed, but Jesus showed mercy (John 8:1-11).

    Jesus broke social norms by speaking to a Samaritan woman and speaking hope into her life (John 4:1-26).

    Jesus is the compassionate shepherd who will seek out the one lost and hurting sheep out of the 100. He cares for our ills, he cares for our hurts, he cares for our hearts, he cares for our souls. For those who have been hurt by spiritual abuse, Jesus wouldn’t tell you to just get over it. He would put his arms around you, tell you how sorry he was that some of the shepherds who were supposed to watch his flock lost their way and hurt you, and tell you that he cares for your sorrows, and be there to hold your hand. He would single you out in the crowd, not to scorn or chastise you, but to come and speak words of healing in your life because he can see how much you really need it. You are special to him. He is here all for you.

    Like

  8. JoeJoe – – Thank you so much for your comment. Look at those beautiful examples of Christ’s love!! That Jesus crossed social norms, got in the muck of ugly situations to bring life and hope and mercy to people is such a wonderful example for us and for those who call themselves shepherds of the flock.

    Like

  9. Julie Anne,

    I noticed “Compassion Sunday” posting in this thread from your former church.

    I’m kind of curious if the abusive rhetoric that you have endured is subsiding? Is there any sign of your former Pastor of apologizing or wanting a truce? Or is he still practicing an aggressive Calvinistic or Reformed Abusive Methodology toward Christians, who choose not to be Calvinistic,

    I’m asking this because sometimes people can soften up and learn from their abusive mistakes and end up with more humility and become renewed with a “fresh start” from God.

    Like

  10. Mark – There has been no signs of any truce. I think as recently as last week he was still tweeting about me. There have been ongoing issues with other former members as well. He thinks he is justified in his behavior.

    Like

  11. Julie Anne,

    It seems odd to me that the Calvinistic or Reformed movement would be better served if they didn’t ridicule Christians who don’t embrace some or all Points of TULIP.

    The dialogue between the Calvinist and the Christians within the SBC is becoming toxic. Most of it stems around Abuse, The Reformed Calvinist going into churches not disclosing their Doctrine and Christian Professors being covertly replaced by Reformed or New Calvinist in SBC Seminaries.

    Like

  12. Mark – I know you and I have sure seen abuse within the hyper Calvinist churches, but if we take an honest look church abuse, we really must acknowledge that abuse goes across the spectrum of theologies. Bob Grenier and the pastors at Calvary Chapel are not Calvinist. What is their excuse? There is a personal story thread at the Calvary Chapel Abuse site with over 900 comments – abuse stories recounted from many different CC churches.

    I think we make a mistake by saying this is just a Calvinist problem. One characteristic that we often find is narcissism and that goes across both doctrinal belief systems. The issues we had with him didn’t have to do with Calvinism. It did have to do with not preaching grace and not living grace. It had to do with extra-biblical teachings and twisting scripture, etc. Neither of those have to do with Calvinism.

    Like

  13. Julie Anne,

    I believe you are correct in that the abuse isn’t only isolated with the Calvinist or Reformed and certainly not all Reformed are abusive.

    Like

  14. Julie Anne,

    You are correct that this isn’t really a Calvinism issue. To be honest, I would consider myself to be Calvinist, or at least more Calvinist than Arminian. To be sure, there are some hyper-Calvinists out there that I would disagree with in the extent of their interpretation, and there are Calvinists that are abuse (and there are non-Calvinists that are as well). It does bother me somewhat that I often see in comments people bashing Calvinism, though I can understand their sentiment when it seems that some of the high profile abusers or people that they have strong disagreement with call themselves Calvinists.

    In a way, it is somewhat like the complementarian/egalitarian issue that we discussed in a recent post. People tend to look at the worst in the sides of an issue, not realizing that there are so often shades of gray inbetween. I may have some theological disagreement with my Arminian (and others inbetween) brothers and sisters, but I call them family all the same. That is something I have learned more and more over the years, that there is room for differences in interpretation on some matters, and that while I can still hold onto my theologies, I shouldn’t hold on too tightly, because there is a good chance I am wrong about at least some of them.

    Like

  15. JoeJoe – I really dislike it when doctrine becomes god over important commands like Jesus’ #1 commandment of loving one another. People pushing agendas that are not of gospel importance is a hot topic of mine. So many times they run over people like a bulldozer. Don’t get me going – lol.

    Like

  16. Julie Anne,

    I never had a problem with Calvinism until I recognized I wasn’t a Hyper-Calvinist and was being retaliated against for not embracing it.

    The “Calvinist School” has so many different dialects of people embracing some or all Points of TULIP. When a person agree with certain parts of Calvinism but not all, makes wonder if that person really is a Calvinist. The same can be said for Arminians.

    I’m sure I could find certain Points in both Calvinism and Arminianism that I wouldn’t dispute but that doesn’t make me a Calvinist or an Arminian.

    With that, if a person wants to admit to being Calvinist or Arminian I have no quarrel until it starts dividing churches or when they embrace a reckless interpretation of scriptures and rebuke me for questioning their Methodology while not disclosing their Doctrine or purposely keeping it a mystery, which in fact is Sin.

    If you are a 4 Point Calvinist or less and you are around an aggressive New of Hyper-Calvinist there is a good chance you will endure some correction at the very least. Even if you are a 5 Pointer but you don’t agree with their Methodology is also a recipe for abuse.

    Like

  17. Julie Anne,

    I think that this is something that God has been teaching me over the past several years. There are some things that I used to be much more rigid on that I am now more relaxed about. I have been learning that there is room for differences in interpretation. By leaving that space, I am learning to be more compassionate to fellow believers and not be so dogmatic. For example, there was once a time that I thought speaking in tongues, at least in modern times, was wrong, and that if you did, there was something “off” about your beliefs, sometimes to the point that I would wonder if they were really Christians. Or I would question the salvation of people in certain other denominations. Today, I would say I am much more open minded.

    Sure, there are things that I may still disagree with say maybe, a methodist, on, but I am not so quick as to lable a person a non-Christian. While I may still not be entirely sure on the speaking in tongues issue, I have no doubt that a great many of them are sincere and devote lovers of God that are doing their best to follow after him. I do think that God appreciates that, and perhaps even appreciates it more even than he does some of the people who are so strictly against it.

    There will probably always be things that I disagree with about some doctrines, and some that I think are wrong and think that mine are right (we certainly are allowed to have opinions and ideas, and in some cases, not everybody can be right, so some doctrines would necessarily have to be wrong), but like I said, I am learning all the time which ones I should be more dogmatic on, and which ones I should be less dogmatic on. I think that blogs such as this one, and several others that I am fond of, do a good job of trying to help people see than many sides of things and promote dialog along with the healing for those who have been hurt.

    Like

  18. Mark said: With that, if a person wants to admit to being Calvinist or Arminian I have no quarrel until it starts dividing churches or when they embrace a reckless interpretation of scriptures and rebuke me for questioning their Methodology while not disclosing their Doctrine or purposely keeping it a mystery, which in fact is Sin.

    Yes, this is a good point, Mark. People are going to have differences of opinion, but let’s deal with those openly and not in a condemning fashion – just agree to disagree, but continue to love.

    Like

  19. The definition of hyper Calvinist tends to go something like “people who are more Calvinist than me”. I’m a five point Calvinist, but am not considered “hyper” in my denomination (PCA). When we Christians discuss doctrine we need to acknowledge that we belong to Christ, all of us. If we ridicule we risk ridiculing our Lord. I believe the goal in doctrinal discussions (and this is possible though difficult) should be deep, critical and even passionate thinking driven by love. In other words it’s a grave error to despise those from traditions we don’t hold to (love is missing), but it’s also an error to go shallow and pretend we all think the same things.

    Like

  20. craigvick,

    One of the practices (I’m made to believe) of the Hyper-Calvinist movement, which include identifying themselves as Reformed, New Calvinist and now simply Conservative, is denying the need to access the Gospel to the Non-Elect. Even going so far as making the personal determination of who they think individually the Non-Elect and embracing TULIP is a pre-requisite.
    (Calvinist as you know are embracing several titles)

    I have suggested several times the Pharisees in Mark 2-16:17 did in fact practice their own form of Election Theology on the Sinner, Tax Collector and even on Christ when they rebuked Christ for counseling the Sinner and Tax Collector.

    Who is in need of a physician? The Elect or Non-Elect. I think for me embracing or practicing TULIP on others is risky, when we have everything we need in scriptures.

    Like

  21. The ultimate standard for practice is Scripture. So if my theology seems to tell me I don’t need to care about Evangelism, then my theology needs to be corrected. Most Calvinists, myself included, do not think we can determine in advance who is and isn’t elect. Even asking such a question smacks of a misuse of theology.

    I agree, Mark, that doctrines like election are risky because they do great damage when misused. That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t taught in Scripture. One of the greatest evils of spiritual abuse, in my view, occurs when Scripture is used to control rather than set free. Sadly, as we all know, even the devil knows how to quote Scripture.

    Like

  22. craigvick,

    When Christians and Calvinist use Heretic Rhetoric, become Slanderous, Judging One Another, Consider Each other as Evil or of the Devil and the catalyst is for making these accusations is Doctrinal Indifference this is recipe for abuse.

    The scriptures does discuss Election and Free Will and I’m sure Christians and Calvinist use their interpretation of scripture to authenticate where they stand.

    Julie Anne pointed out the need to Love one another and my favorite verse is from 1 Corinthians 13:13. The strife in the SBC over Calvinism and Christian Doctrine colliding, raises serious doubt in my mind if they are embracing that verse one toward another.

    Like

  23. Back to “compassion” :
    1Cor 13:1,2 (NIV) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    … vs :6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
    I’m thankful to have known people who have practiced compassion in their lives.

    Like

  24. Margaret,

    Those are powerful truths you are revealing. I pray, I can keep those verses close to my heart even in the presence of adversaries or when temptation to do wrong crosses my path.

    Like

  25. Mark,

    I’m not sure I follow your first paragraph (2:22pm). By ‘Doctrinal Indifference’ do you mean ‘Doctrinal Difference’? I’ve wanted to ask you that before but this is the first time our comments have been addressed to each other. If so, I agree that a Calvinist calling an Arminian a heretic, evil or of the devil, simply because of a doctrinal difference, is both wrong and unloving. I’m ashamed of the strident way some Calvinists behave towards brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

    Is that strident arrogance caused by Calvinism? Is abuse in Calvinist churches or by Calvinist pastors a result of Calvinism? I don’t think so. I think the abuse is caused by a failure (in many cases an inability) to be compassionate. The doctrine is simply a tool that’s being misused.

    Like

  26. craigvick,

    Thank you for correction and still be able to understand what I meant.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by strident arrogance caused by Calvinism,

    There are Stealth “Reformed” Pastor’s that are indoctrinated into teaching and preaching a certain and aggressive way, knowing full well it will be divisive.

    Some may lack compassion and actually embrace confrontation and enjoy being a martyr as a by product. I know my former Pastor felt he needed to endure Doctrinal persecution. I felt he was actually pursuing persecution in order to find favor with God even if it meant antagonizing the congregation.

    He did secede simply by purposing keeping his Doctrine a mystery while force feeding and indoctrinating all 5 Points of TULIP to an unsuspecting Congregation. (while rebuking those who questioned his Methodology)

    Arrogance is something that I know I’ve been guilty of myself

    Like

  27. Margaret – Welcome! That verse is precious to me, thank you. Love seems to be a significant word for me since figuring out the underlying common denominator of abusive pastors is a lack of love.

    Hey friends, just an FYI – there is a new Prayer Request tab at the top of the page. Margaret added the first request.

    Like

  28. Pingback: My Twitter Conversation with a Pastor about Doctrine and Truth | Spiritual Sounding Board

  29. Pingback: What Do Victims of Natural Disasters Need? A Survivor Shares | Spiritual Sounding Board

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s