The Color of Compassion

The Color of Compassion

Lysa TerKeurstBy Lysa TerKeurst5 Minutes

Who do you want standing near you in those moments dripping with disappointment and saturated with sorrow? I can assure you it isn’t people who don’t know the whole story, draped in gold-plated pride with mouths eager to spill out commentary like, “Here’s what you did wrong. I would never have allowed myself to get in this position. If only you would have …”

Nope. It’s those clothed with garments of understanding. They have personally experienced that this life between two gardens can sometimes make it excruciatingly painful to simply be human. They keep in mind the Bible’s instructions as we rub shoulders human to human. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

We are to put on each of these things every day like a painter puts on color he knows will connect his creation with others. God wants you, His creation, to connect with others and bring them light and life with the brush strokes of compassion. Note that compassion is listed first in Colossians 3:12. It’s from a heart of compassion that kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience naturally flow.

When people see us, do they see the compassion of their Creator?

If so, I guarantee when the enemy sees us he shakes with fear. He isn’t scared of the judgmental soul shellacked with a fake sense of perfection. But the compassionate soul who has hurt deeply and come out loving. Yes, she is one of the superstars of God’s grand story, and the one you want near you in the battles of life. She wears well the scars of suffering and can’t wait to tell you her survival story so you, too, can survive. She has great compassion toward every created thing, whether it be covered in paint or flesh or dust.

The only way to gain more of this compassion is to sit in the seat of your own suffering. Seasons of suffering are not for nothing. They will grow you. They will shape you. They will soften you. They will allow you to experience God’s comfort and compassion.

You will find life-giving purpose and meaning when you allow God to take your painful experiences and comfort others. You will be able to share a unique hope because you know exactly what it feels like to be them. In my own season of suffering, I feel as though I’ve licked the floor of hell. So now, everything else in comparison looks a little more heavenly.

Show up. People need you. People need me. People need to know God’s compassion is alive and well and winning the epic battle of good versus evil. People need to know redemption is more than just a word.

Put some paint on the emptiness. Forget the cravings for comfort zones. Trade your comfort for compassion. Don’t welcome hardness of heart as easiness of life.

Be like Him. The Creator, the Master Artist.

Don’t be like them. The hardhearted haters. The ones who would rather criticize than comfort. The ones who are loud with their opinions but who have never suffered with a blank canvas.

Grab the brush, and light the world with your color and attempts at creation. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t pretend it’s even possible. Don’t apologize or strategize. And don’t minimize that you are crushing fear and judgment with every stroke. You are walking the way of the artist. You are simply showing up with compassion.

And I love you for that. I love whatever is about to come to life on your canvas to the glory of our Almighty Creator. God. The Redeemer of dust. The Redeemer of us.

Excerpted from It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, © 2018. Used by permission of Harper Collins.