Have you ever found yourself dealing with people in which sometimes make you want to scream! People will be people, some unkind, some mouthy, some takers, some who continue to slander, lie and make up stories. However, not all people are “bad”. As I get older, I find it easier to relax in all situations and nothing seems to surprise me. Life throws us many curve balls and it is up to us if we choose to swing. Years ago when a person would come to me for advice, I would tell them what to do or how to fix the problem. Some listened and some didn’t. Some refused to change but kept coming back for attention or sympathy. I then would pretty much pull away from the relationship. If they didn’t want to change and continue in their sinful lifestyle, I had no time for them. I just wanted to yell, “grow up”.
During the last few years, I have been working on my compassion and mercy. I took one of those spiritual gift tests and realized I scored low in giving mercy. I wanted to improve in this area of my life, so I put myself back in school. I enrolled in a training class and started as a peer counselor at a local Pregnancy Crisis Center. For two years, I saw women who needed help in making decisions about their life or their unwanted pregnancy. My goal was to help them realize there was hope for their future and encouraged them to find relationship with Jesus Christ. Although, through all the explaining of the choices, some still never returned. I assumed some chose abortion, not because they wanted to end the life of an unborn child but because they felt there was no future for them or the child. Many women carry this burden for the rest of their life in which may not surface for years. Statistics say one out of five women who are over the age of 40 have had an abortion. I continue to pray for them and their burden.
My heart would ache and I would find myself crying on the way home, praying for those women. There were some great stories too. I became particular fond of a young girl who was the same age as Lyle. When she came in to the clinic the first time, she already had one child and found herself pregnant again and had thought about abortion. Needless to say, months later when her mother dropped her off at the hospital to have the baby, she called for me. I witnessed another miracle from God and His love.
Each case, unique in itself, these women seemed to have much in common and a repetitive history. There was no certain age, race, religion or background. Most in poverty and most abused the system or had been personally abused somewhere in their past. It was their normal way of life and most often their mother had did the same. Some were teens, some were in the twenties, and a few had careers and didn’t want to be interrupted. Some of the women had baby after baby, using their children as an income. Most all of the babies had different fathers, with little or no support or were in and out of jail. The one thing I did recognize in most was priorities. They didn’t know how to plan or make wise decisions. They would choose a cell phone, cigarettes or having their nails done over purchasing diapers for their baby. Sometimes I would be furious over their ignorant decisions but I chose to smile, comfort and love. I wanted and tried to help them think through and educate them on a healthy lifestyle before and after pregnancy. I chose to be compassionate and give mercy. I prayed for it, I lived it and I found it. Giving compassion and mercy increases when you take time to see every human being as a soul and not what they look like, been through, or continue to fall into sin. We must see them as Jesus does, who they will become. God works through us to help others. He gives us the compassion, His compassion and mercy to share.
Mark 1:41 And Jesus having compassion on him, stretched forth his hand; and touching him, says to him: I will. Be thou made clean.
Our world would want us to accuse and refuse to help those in need. Our society would like to say, these people have no hope because they chose to live like that. Our humanistic side would judge, condemn and say they deserve what they get. Our selfish side would refuse to offer a way to help them change because we don’t have the time, money or effort to do so. However, the Jesus in us would say, have compassion and stretch forth your hand to the task of helping others clean up their lives. Compassion is understanding and caring when someone is hurt or troubled even if you don’t know them. It is wanting to help even if all you do is listen and say encouraging words. It is forgiving mistakes and being a friend. People will continue to be people, it is however up to us to show them a better life through the mercy of Jesus Christ. What He has given and shown to us, we must give to others. His mercy and compassion endures forever. Will you stretch forth your hand?