Tag Archives: compassion

Prayer in Temptation vii

Love

43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46 If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. 47 If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

I can do love.
That warm,
generous
feeling;
that filling
of compassion
and care;
the willingness to sacrifice,
put someone else first,
meet their needs
above mine.

I can do love.
when I feel love,
know security,
bask in the wonder
of another’s care
of me.

I can do love,
love those around me,
those like me,
those I understand,
those,
if I am honest,
I approve of,
those who love me.

And yet

You ask me
also to love those
who I don’t get,
those who I don’t understand,
who don’t understand me,
those who hurt me
and make me feel bad.

Can I do that kind of love?
Let in those I am afraid of,
open myself up to them?
Long to care for them,
even though,
apparently,
they care so little for me?

To love only my friends,
my kind,
my supporters,
costs me little.
It is no real sacrifice,
for I get so much from it.

But your way
is to love without barriers,
to love without
ever hoping to get anything back,
to give,
and keep on giving.
because it is not about me,
but about you.

Lead me not into temptation.
Not to take the easy route,
but to love those who really need loving,
who may have no one else,
who find it hard to be loved;
then I am loving your way.

Give me your strength
and your love.
Because the most amazing thing
is that you love me.

Teach Me To Love

Look Where You’re Going – Day 11

I was always told by my wonderful driving instructor

Look at the place you want to go

Don’t look at what’s either side, or in front of the bonnet, but up the road at the place you’re aiming for, then you’ll be on the right course.

It turns out, they were wise words, not just for driving, but for life and faith as well. Thanks Llew!  We can easily be distracted by things that aren’t important, or are only of temporary significance, when our focus needs to be on where we’re heading.  As we wait, as we journey through Advent and beyond how true that is.  Yet it can be so easy to be distracted by things that don’t really matter…

And so Henri Nouwen tell us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – the one who behaves the right way.  Who isn’t looking for power and self-glorification, but touches the lame, the poor the weak; who speaks forgiveness and encouragement – and brings peace.

I don’t know about you, but in a world that increasingly frustrates me and often makes me despair, that’s somewhere I’d much rather be looking.  Yes we have to cope with the daily distractions around us, but we can only really achieve that by keeping our focus on Jesus.  That’s not a cop-out, or to be ‘other worldly’, or no earthly use, but to keep in mind what really matters, and to emulate in our lives the ways of Jesus.Perhaps that will make the world a little more bearable for others.

12 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

15 Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.

Lord,

there are so many distractions;

so many things that seem important

– but aren’t really;

situations that vie for attention

that are only temporary.

Help me not to be swayed by what doesn’t matter,

to forget what is really important.

Lord,

Prince of Peace,

forgiver,

encourager,

may my focus be on you,

and your ways

This year for Advent, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub

I didn’t do it

“It wasn’t me I didn’t do it”, the oft cited excuse of many.  I didn’t do what you think I did, what you’re accusing me of…

Jesus turns that totally around in theThe Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

They are accused, not of doing something wrong – but of failing to do some good.  The people are quite happy with the way they have been living, content they have been doing what they should have.  Little do they realise…  Conversely, those who have been doing good, are unaware – it is just natural to them.

Feeding the hungry, inviting in the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and imprisoned are actions that God expects; not turning a blind eye or supposing someone else will do it.  They are done, not to be seen to be doing something, but to genuinely help.  Our attitude to the needs of others says a lot about our attitude to God, and in serving others, we are also serving him.

I cannot think of this story expressed in a better way than Keith Green’s powerful retelling

The conclusion:

the only difference between the sheep and the goats, was what they did – and didn’t do!

Lord,

what have I done,

or not done?

Forgive me

for the good I could have done

and didn’t,

for doing things just to be seen,

for leaving others to struggle,

for failing to serve

both my fellow human being

and you.

May I see what others need

and give it

to them and to you