A  SERMON  I   BROUGHT  AT  THE  COLLINGWOOD,  ONTARIO,  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES  2018,  WITH  THE  CANADIAN  CHURCH  OF  GOD.  



COMPASSION


WE  ALL  NEED  TO  BE  SHOWN  COMPASSION;  WE  ALL  NEED  TO  SHOW  COMPASSION!


TURN  TO  EXODUS  20;  WE  SHALL  READ  VERSES  1  TO  6——


“AND  GOD  SPOKE  ALL  THESE  WORDS,  SAYING,  I  AM  THE  LORD  YOUR  GOD,  WHICH  HAVE  BROUGHT  YOU  OUT  OF  THE  LAND  OF  EGYPT,  OPUT  OF  THE  HUSE  OF  BONDAGE…..  AND  SHOWING  MERCY  UNTO  THOUSANDS  OF  THEM  THAT  LOVE  ME,  AND  KEEP  MY  COMMANDMENTS.”


TO  MOSES  GOD  SAID,  “….I  WILL  MAKE  ALL  MY  GOODNESS  PASS  BEFORE  YOUY,  AND  I  WILL  PROCLAIM  THER  NAME  OF  THE  LORD  BEFORE  YOU;  AND  WILL  BE  GRACIOUS  TO  WHOM  I  WILL  BE  GRACIOUS,  AND  WILL  SHOW  MERCY  ON  WHOM  I  WILL  SHOW  MERCY” [EXODUS 33:19].


MERCY,  GRACE…… IS  COMPASSION!


SOLOMON  SAID,  “….LORD  GOD  OF  ISRAEL,  THERE  IS  NO  GOD  LIKE  YTOU,  IN  HEAVEN  ABOVE  OR  ON  EARTH  BENEATH,  WHO  KEEPS  COVENANT  NAD  MERCY  WITH  YOUR  SERVANTS  THAST  WALK  BEFORE  YOU  WITH  ALL  THEIR  HEART” [1 KINGD 8:23].


“REMEMBER, O  LORD,  YOUR  TENDER  MERCIES  AND  YOUR  LOVINGKINDNESS,  FOR  THEY  HAVE  BEEN  EVER  OF  OLD” [PSALM 25:6].


“THE  LORD  IS  GRACIOUS  AND  FULL  OF  COMPASSION;  SLOW  TO  ANGER,  AND  OF  GREAT  MERCY” [PSALM 145:8].


“WHO  IS  A  GOD  LIKE  UNTO  YOU,  THAT  PARDONS  INIQUITY,  AND  PASSES  BY  THE  TRANSGRESSION  OF  THE  REMNANT  OF  HIS  HERITAGE?  HE  RETAINS  NOT  HIS  ANGER  FOR  EVER,  BECAUSE  HE  DELIGHTS  IN  MERCY.  HE  WILL  TURN  AGAIN,  HE  WILL  HAVE  COMPASSION  ON  US;  HE  WILL  SUBDUE  OUR  INIQUITIES;  AND  YOU  WILL  CAST  ALL  THEIR  SINS  INTO  THE  DEPTHS  OF  THE  SEA” [MICAH 7: 18, 19].


O  YES,  GREAT  IS  THE  LOVE  OF  GOD  UPON  REPENTANT  SINNERS;  TO  THOSE  WHO  KEEP  THEIR  HEART  RIGHT  WITH  GOD,  WHO  EVER  LOVE  THE  LORD’S  COMMANDMENTS,  AND  WILL  SET  THEIR  MIND-SET  TO  OBEY  GOD,  WHO  WILL  CONFESS  THEIR  SINS,  ACKNOWLEDGE  THEY  ARE  A  SINNER,  AND  ALWAYS  BE  IN  THAT  HUMBLE  REPENTANT  ATTITUDE  OF  MIND;  UPON  SUCH  THE  COMPASSION  OF  THE  ETERNAL  KNOWS  NO  LIMIT!  SINS  WILL  BE  CAST  INTO  THE  DEPTH  OF  THE  SEA  NEVER  TO  SURFACE  AGAIN.


AND  THAT  SAID,  I  MUST  SAY  SOMETHING  ABOUT  THIS  SO-CALLED  “JUDGMENT”  THAT  CHRISTIANS  ARE  TO  FACE.  WHILE  MANY  FOCUS  ON  THE  MIGHTY  COMPASSION,  MERCY,  GRACE  OF  GOD  THROUGH  JESUS  CHRIST;  THEY  THEN  TUIRN  AROUND  AND   TEACH  THIS  IDEA  THAT  WE  ALL  SHALL  IN  THAT  JUDGMENT  DAY,  STAND  BEFORE  GOD,  AND  HAVE  ALL  OUR  “GOOD”  AND  “EVIL”  DOINGS  WE’VE  DONE,  KINDA  BROUGHT  UP  ON  SOME  HEAVENLY  SCREEN—— AND  SO  BE  “JUDGED”!


THAT  TEACHING  CONTRADICTS  MANY  MANY  SCRIPTURES  IN  THE  BIBLE,  JUST  A  FEW  WE  HAVE  SEEN  ABOVE.


I  HAVE  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  A  FULL  IN-DEPTH  STUDY  OF  THE  SO-CALLED  “JUDGMENT  DAY”  TEACHING  AS  TAUGHT  BY  MANY  FUNDAMENTAL  PROTESTANTS.  IT  IS  ANOTHER  OF  THEIR  MANY  FALSE  TEACHINGS  IN  THEIR  ARSENAL   OF  WRONG  TEACHINGS.


YOU  CAN  FIND  THIS  IMPORTANT  STUDY  UNDER—— “SALVATION,  LAW  AND  GRACE”  SECTION,  IT  IS  NEAR  THE  TOP  CALLED  “The  Day  of  JUDGMENT.”


COMPASSION  OR  MERCY  IS  A  HUGE  TOPIC;  I  HAVE  COVERED  IT  MANY  TIMES  ON  THIS  WEBSITE,  BUT  THIS  IS  FROM  A  DIFFERENT  STANCE,  YET  A   PART  OF  THE  WHOLE  TOPIC.


THE  FOLLOWING  IS  TAKEN  FROM——



GIFTS  OF  IMPERFECTION—— a book

By Brene Brown PhD


Compassion


The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, meaning "to suffer with." I don't believe that compassion is our default response. I think our first response to pain—ours or someone else's— is to self-protect. We protect ourselves by looking for someone or something to blame. Or sometimes we shield ourselves by turning to judgment or by immediately going into fix-it mode.


Chodron [who  she  refers  to  for  his  writings] addresses our tendency to self-protect by teaching that we must be honest and forgiving about when and how we shut down: "In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience—our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. "3


In my story, Ashley was willing to be in my darkness with me. She wasn't there as my helper or to fix me; she was just with me— as an equal—holding my hand as I waded through my feelings.


Boundaries and Compassion


One of the greatest (and least discussed) barriers to compassion practice is the fear of setting boundaries and holding people accountable. I know it sounds strange, but I believe that understanding the connection between boundaries, accountability, acceptance, and compassion has made me a kinder person. Before the breakdown, I was sweeter—judgmental, resentful, and angry on the inside—but sweeter on the outside. Today, I think I'm genuinely more compassionate, less judgmental and resentful, and way more serious about boundaries. I have no idea what this combination looks like on the outside, but it feels pretty powerful on the inside. Before this research, I knew a lot about each one of these concepts, but I didn't understand how they fit together. During the interviews, it blew my mind when I realized that many of the truly committed compassion practitioners were also the most boundary-conscious people in the study. Compassionate people are boundaried people. I was stunned.


Here's what I learned: The heart of compassion is really acceptance.


The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. Well, it's difficult to accept people when they are hurting us or taking advantage of us or walking all over us. This research has taught me that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.


We live in a blame culture—we want to know whose fault it is and how they're going to pay. In our personal, social, and political worlds, we do a lot of screaming and finger-pointing, but we rarely hold people accountable. How could we? We're so exhausted from ranting and raving that we don't have the energy to develop meaningful consequences and enforce them. From Washington, DC, and Wall Street to our own schools and homes, I think this rage-blame-too-tired-and-busy-to-follow-through mindset is why we're so heavy on self-righteous anger and so low on compassion.


Wouldn't it be better if we could be kinder, but firmer? How would our lives be different if there were less anger and more accountability? What would our work and home lives look like if we blamed less but had more respect for boundaries? 


I was recently brought in to talk with a group of corporate leaders who were trying to manage a difficult reorganization in their company. One of the project managers told me that, after listening to me talk about the dangers of using shame as a management tool, he was worried that he shamed his team members. He told me that when he gets really frustrated, he singles people out and criticizes their work in team meetings.


He explained, "I'm so frustrated. I have two employees who just don't listen. I explain every single detail of the project, I check to make sure they understand, and they still do it their way. I'm out of options. I feel backed into a corner and angry, so I take them down in front of their colleagues."


When I asked him how he was holding these two employees accountable for not following the project protocol, he replied, "What do you mean by accountable?" I explained, "After you check with them to make sure they understand your expectations and the objectives, how do you explain the consequences of not following the plan or not meeting the objectives?"


He said, "I don't talk about the consequences. They know they're supposed to follow the protocol."


I gave him an example, "Okay. What would happen if you told them that you were going to write them up or give them an official warning the next time they violated protocol and that if it continues, they're going to lose their jobs?"


He shook his head and said, "Oh, no. That's pretty serious. I'd have to get the human resources people involved. That becomes a big hassle."


Setting boundaries and holding people accountable is a lot more work than shaming and blaming. But it's also much more effective. Shaming and blaming without accountability is toxic to couples, families, organizations, and communities. First, when we shame and blame, it moves the focus from the original behavior in question to our own behavior. By the time this boss is finished shaming and humiliating his employees in front of their colleagues, the only behavior in question is his.


Additionally, if we don't follow through with appropriate consequences, people learn to dismiss our requests—even if they sound

like threats or ultimatums. If we ask our kids to keep their clothes off the floor and they know that the only consequence of not doing it is a few minutes of yelling, it's fair for them to believe that it's really not that important to us.


It's hard for us to understand that we can be compassionate and accepting while we hold people accountable for their behaviors. We can, and, in fact, it's the best way to do it. We can confront someone about their behavior, or fire someone, or fail a student, or discipline a child without berating them or putting them down. The key is to separate people from their behaviors—to address what they're doing, not who they are (I'll talk more about this in the next chapter). It's also important that we can lean into the discomfort that comes with straddling compassion and boundaries. We have to stay away from convincing ourselves that we hate someone or that they deserve to feel bad so that we can feel better about holding them accountable. That's where we get into trouble. When we talk ourselves into disliking someone so we're more comfortable holding them accountable, we're priming ourselves for the shame and blame game.


When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel  used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. For our own sake, we need to understand that it's dangerous to our relationships and our well-being to get mired in shame and blame, or to be full of self-righteous anger. It's also impossible to practice compassion from a place of resentment. If we're going to practice acceptance and compassion, we need boundaries and accountability.

……


YES  INDEED!  AND  THAT  IS  HOW  GOD  WORKS;  HE  HAS  BOUNDARIES —— HIS  HOLY  WAYS  AND  COMMANDMENTS;  THE  WAY  HE  WANTS  HIS  CHILDREN  TO  LIVE.  HE  WANTS  US  TO  ADMIT  WE  HAVE  MISSED  THE  MARK  OF  HIS  WAY  OF  LIVING  IN  OUR  WORLD.  HE  SAYS,  “YOU  REPENT,  GET  A  NEW  MIND-SET  OF  LOVING  ME  AND  MY  BOUNDARIES;  WANTING  TO  LIVE  THEM;  I  WILL  SHOW  COMPASSION,  MERCY,  FORGIVENESS  THROUGH  MY  SON  JESUS  CHRIST,  WHO  PAID  FOR  YOUR  MESS-UPS;  AS  LONG  AS  YOU  REMAIN  IN  THAT  MIND-SET  YOU’LL  HAVE  MY  COMPASSION  UNENDING,  YOUR  ERRORS, MISTAKES, SINS, WILL  BE  WASHED  AWAY—— GONE  TO  THE  BOTTOM  OF  THE  SEA  NEVER  TO  SURFACE  AGAIN.  AND  AS  I  HAVE  COMPASSION  ON  YOU  SO  YOU  MUST  ALSO  SHOW  COMPASSION  TO  YOUR  FELLOW  HUMANS.”



In Reader's Digest Jim Williams of Butte, Montana, writes:


I was driving too fast late one night when I saw the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over and rolled down the window of my station wagon, I tried to dream up an excuse for my haste. But when the patrolman reached the car, he said nothing. Instead, he merely shined his flashlight in my face, then on my seven-months-pregnant wife, then on our snoozing 18-month-old in his car seat, then on our three other children, who were also asleep, and lastly on the two dogs in the very back of the car. Returning the beam of light to my face, he then uttered the only words of the encounter.

"Son," he said, "you can't afford a ticket. Slow it down." And with that, he returned to his car and drove away.


Sometimes mercy triumphs over law. So it is for sinners who call out to Jesus.


Grace, Law, Salvation Luke 18:9-14; Rom.11:32; James 2:12

Someone Once Said ...

If we could only read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.—

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Others will not care how much we know until they know how much we care. As one authority puts it:


If I just do my thing and you do yours, we stand in danger of losing each other and ourselves. We are fully ourselves only in relation to each other; the I detached from a Thou disintegrates. I do not find you by chance; I find you by an active life of reaching out.


—Walter Tubbs, "Beyond Pearls," Journal of Humanistic Psychology




A Greek class was given an assignment to study the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. These young theologion were to do an in-depth analysis of the biblical text, observing and commenting on all the major terms and syntactical factors worth mentioning. Each student was to write his own translation after having done the work on his commentary.

As is true in most language classes, a couple or three of the students cared more about the practical implications of the assignment than its intellectual stimulation. The morning the work was to be turned in, these three teamed up and carried out a plan to prove their point. One volunteered to play the part of an alleged victim. They tore his shirt and trousers, rubbed mud, catsup, and other realistic-looking ingredients across his "wounds," marked up his eyes and face so he hardly resembled himself, then placed him along the path that led from the dormitory to the Greek classroom. While the other two hid and watched, he groaned and writhed, simulating great pain.


Not one student stopped. They walked around him, stepped over him, and said different things to him. But nobody stooped over to help. What do you want to bet their academic work was flawless ... and insightful... and handed in on time?


This incident always reminds me of a scripture that penetrates the surface of our intellectual concerns. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" (1 John 3:16-17, NIV).


—Charles R. Swindoll, Compassion



NOW  TO  UNDERSTAND  THESE  TWO  VERSES  CORRECTLY  WE  MUST  KNOW  THE  GREEK  “TENSES”  USED.  REFERRING  TO  CHRIST  “LAID  DOWN”  IS  IN  THE  AORIST  TENSE— AN  ACTION  DONE  ONCE  IN  THE  PAST  AND  CONCLUDED.  JESUS  DIED  FOR  SINNERS!


THE  TENSE  FOR  SOMEONE  SEEING  HIS  BROTHER  HAVE  NEED,  IS  IN  THE  “PRESENT”  TENSE  WHICH  IS  CONTINUAL——LIVING  TO  SERVE  AND  HELP  OTHERS  ALL  OUR  CHRISTIAN  LIFE,  WHENEVER  WE  CAN,  WITH  WHATEVER  WE  CAN.  





The greyhound bus slowed—then stopped.

It was just a wayside stop with a garage and a small store. A young Indian stepped aboard and after he had paid his fare he sat down behind me.

It was February. We were traveling from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The night was cold. In the warm bus the tired youth was soon asleep. But after about 20 minutes he got up and walked to the front of the bus to ask if we were near his destination. "We passed there a long time ago," the bus driver snapped.  Acknowledging  he  had known the boy was riding beyond his stop, he ask angrily, "Why didn't you get off?"

The quiet passenger's shoulders drooped. He turned and came back to his seat. Barely had he sat down, when he rose again and went to the driver.

"Will you stop and let me off?" he asked.

I’ll walk back."

"No! It's too far and too cold. You'd freeze to death. You'll have to go into Albuquerque and then take a bus back."


Disappointment showed in his walk as he came back to his seat.

"Were you asleep?" I asked him.

"Yes, and my sister was waiting for me there." He dropped into the seat behind me.


I was returning to Wisconsin after serving a quarter term as a volunteer teacher in an Indian mission school. This experience had taught me the hard living conditions of the Indians in the area. The small adobe houses with earth floors, the lack of privacy in those little one-or-two-room houses.


The role played by teenagers was very hard. There was no room for them at home, yet they were not really ready to go out on their own.


All the while we were nearing Albuquerque, a large and strange city. I thought he must be wondering what he would do after he got there. I turned to him and asked, "Are you afraid?"

"Yes," he said, in a "hate-to-admit" way.

"Stay with me," I said, "and I'll help you get on the right bus back."

I talked to the driver: "Will you please check with the return driver, so he need not pay return fare?"

"OK," the driver reluctantly agreed.

"Everything will be all right," I told the boy.

"You need not worry about anything."

His eyes said, "Thank you!"


We rode on for possibly ten more minutes.


Then a hand tapped my shoulder. I turned to see my young friend leaning toward me. In a reverent  voice  he   asked:   "Are  you  a

Christian?"


—Olga Wetzel, Eternity magazine, February 1977



COMPASSION  IS  TO  BECOME  A  PART  OF  US  AS  BREATHING  IN  AIR;  IT  IS  TO  BE  SECOND  NATURE  TO  US,  WHEN  WE  REALLY  SEE  WE  ARE  TO  USE  IT.  IT  DOES  NOT  MEAN  AS  CHRISTIANS  WE  ARE  TO  ALLOW  PEOPLE  TO  WALK  ALL  OVER  US,  TAKING  ADVANTAGE  OF  OUR  KIND  COMPASSIONATE   MIND;  THERE  ARE  PLENTY  OF  SCRIPTURE  VERSES  IN  THE  BIBLE  THAT  TELL  GOD’S  CHILDREN  TO  HAVE  WISDOM  IN  HOW  WE  LIVE.  BUT  THAT  SAID,  WE  JUST  CANNOT  GET  AROUND  THE  FACT   JESUS  TAUGHT  US  TO  BE  COMPASSIONATE,  WHEN  IT  IS  NEEDED  IN  THE  RIGHT  SITUATIONS  THAT  MEET  US  IN  THIS  LIFE—— YES  THE  “GOOD  SAMARITAN”  PARABLE  SITUATION.


BE  COMPASSIONATE  BRETHREN,  AND  OUR  HEAVENLY  FATHER  AND  HIS  SON  JESUS  CHRIST,  WILL  BE  COMPASSIONATE  TO  YOU.     


November  2018