“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any hurtful way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
~Psalm 139:23-24 (NRSV)
In our individualistic worlds we may often miss the opportunities to empathise with those who are hurting maybe, perhaps, because we are hurting too.
The more we are hurting the less we can see others’ hurts. The difference between the compassionate and the dispassionate, so far as hurts are concerned, is marked. The compassionate have been able to receive God’s compassion in their day. And God desires to bless all with his compassion, always.
Receiving God’s compassion is centrally about being receptive to truth. Because we are hurt, all of us, we need courage to explore these truths, knowing the truth can never harm us as it sets us freer than before.
When the truth prevails over our hearts the door is opened to receiving God’s compassion.
The Incisiveness of God’s Compassion
Let us acknowledge that God is so uniquely interested in each one of us that his compassion insists upon knowing us. In this way the Lord is inherently relational.
But we are so apt to think that when we are tested God is judging us. Whilst this is true, the Holy Spirit keeping us to account, there is a loving edge to our Lord’s scrutiny.
The compassion of God is always searching us, trying to know our hearts. If we are tested God may use such testing as a way of getting through to us. The inscrutable Spirit of the Lord is always scrutinising us—not to judge nor condemn, just bringing us to a point of receiving the Lord’s compassion. It is bizarre how kindly caring the Lord is in our repentance—as we turn back to Divine Presence. We are turned back to know God.
The whole intention of being searched is that truth would be borne. The more truthful we are, the better we are positioned to receive God’s compassion. The more truthful we are, the less we are concerned about, and guilty for, judgment. When we welcome the incisiveness of God’s keen interest in us, we sense it, truthfully and experientially, as compassion.
When we can enjoy compassion, our hurts are healed. And then we may be of service to the hurt. Then we may be adroitly positioned to immerse them in God’s compassion, through us.
Otherwise our unreconciled hurts may transfer to them. We want to help, but we can’t really help if we haven’t first been helped.
Exemplifying God’s Compassion
The purpose of life is not just about our healing, but the healing of others, in God’s name, also.
When we have allowed God to search us, to know our hurts, and to comfort us, we are blessed with healing to the point of being shown how to comfort others with the comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
The point of engaging with God’s compassion is we, in receiving compassion, and through gaining help from God in our injustices, can be compassionate and just.
The effective minister has received, and can continue to receive, God’s compassion. They acknowledge the truth of their hurts, allowing God in. Then, only through experiencing God’s compassion may we avail it to others.
This compassion of the Lord’s is infectious—the more it is known, the more it may be experienced.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.