If I had never been in need, I would never feel the compassion that I do now for others who are in need. As a young woman, I was very independent, self-sufficient and emotionally distant. I expected everyone to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps because that’s what I had to do for myself. With no one to guide me since childhood, I’ve learned to navigate through life trying to survive the hell hole in which I grew up. In the back of my mind, though, I knew that if I fall or if anything happened to me, I had no family members who would offer support. I have nothing to fall back on, so I HAVE to be strong.
This produced an arrogance in me that isolated me from others. It wasn’t the type that made me feel like I was better than other people. In my pride I was so self-deceived that I did not see my need for help so I never asked for it, because deep down I did not believe that anyone would want to help me if I was not their family member. This was the type of arrogance that sucked any compassion that could have resided in my heart, because I viewed others as “lazy” and “needy” if they asked for help. Therefore, when my turn came to be in need, I also viewed myself in the same way: needy, lazy and useless.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a hard worker and through the years I learned that when life deals you a bad hand, it doesn’t matter who you are — you have to humble out and reach out! “No man is an island,” as the English poet John Donne once said. We exist in community, not in isolation. There are those who are naturally compassionate and nurturing, but for people like myself, we have to be broken twice — or multiple times — to get in touch with our sensitive side.
God calls us to be humble toward one another, to clothe ourselves with humility and compassion (Colossians 3:12).
“But those who suffer [God] delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” Job 36:15
Without suffering, there’d be no compassion. Suffering does not always produce compassion; in fact it can produce quite the opposite — bitterness — and in my case there was lots of it! When you stick with God, however, and allow Him to work on your heart through times of affliction, only He can uproot that bitterness and turn you into someone better.
You can probably help someone in need if you have the means and resources, but if you’ve never been in their shoes, an element of humanity might be missing. When we allow ourselves to feel our need for help (i.e., admit feelings of loneliness, shame, guilt, financial straits, etc.), we will appreciate the assistance a lot differently when we do receive it. In turn we’ll be able to help others more effectively because this time, we’d be seeing them with different eyes.
#compassion #LoveLikeJesus #humility #dontbetooproud #prideisolates #nomanisanisland #musingz4life