Tag Archives: compassion

God’s Mercy in Messed Up Families

10 Oct

 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” –Ephesians 2:4-5

mercy-graceWithin the confines of the familial structure the intimate dynamic serves as a transparent illustration of God’s mercy when wrath, eternal judgment and death are the only thing we sinners deserve…

“…there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon you with omnipotent power; and if your strength were ten thousand times greater than it is, yea, ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it” (Johnathan Edwards).

and the Gospel message of love, forgiveness, and grace are shown.

God’s Mercy in Messed Up Families

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find an example of what we would call a “healthy family” in the Bible? It’s a lot easier to find families with a lot of sin and a lot of pain than to find families with a lot of harmony.

Why is the Bible loud on sinfully dysfunctional families and quiet on harmonious families?

Well, for one thing, most families aren’t harmonious. Humanity is not harmonious. We are alienated — alienated from God and each other. So put alienated, selfish sinners together in a home, sharing possessions and the most intimate aspects of life, having different personalities and interests, and a disparate distribution of power, abilities, and opportunities, and you have a recipe for a sin-mess.

But there’s a deeper purpose at work in this mess. The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners. It teaches us that what God wants most for us is that we 1) become aware of our sinfulness and 2) our powerlessness to save ourselves, as we 3) believe and love his Son and the gospel he preached, and 4) graciously love one another. And it turns out that the family is an ideal place for all of these to occur.

But what we often fail to remember is that the mess is usually required for these things to occur. Sin must be seen and powerlessness must be experienced before we really turn to Jesus and embrace his gospel. And offenses must be committed if gracious love is to be demonstrated. So if we’re praying for our family members to experience these things, we should expect trouble.

Family harmony is a good desire and something to work toward. But in God’s plan, it may not be what is most needed. What may be most needed is for our family to be a crucible of grace, a place where the heat of pressure forces sin to surface providing opportunities for the gospel to be understood and applied. And when this happens the messes become mercies.

My point is this: if your family is not the epitome of harmony, take heart. God specializes in redeeming messes. See yours as an opportunity for God’s grace to become visible to your loved ones and pray hard that God will make it happen.

The remainder of this article may be viewed here: God’s Mercy in Messed Up Families – Desiring God.


Shut Up and Listen | Today’s Christian Woman

12 Apr

How to encourage someone who’s hurting 


“What miserable comforters you are!”

She never actually uttered those words, but her eyes shouted them from behind her tears. She had just laid her soul bare. The silence afterward lasted only a moment before those around her erupted in a chorus of “Trust God—everything will work out,” and immediate quotations of Jeremiah 29:11.

I really wanted to cheer up my brokenhearted friend, but how could I avoid adding to the chorus of trite clichés? I had no idea what to do or say.

Ever been there? When we see someone downcast, we want to encourage them with meaningful, restorative words. True encouragement, though, is a tall order. It requires more than a pithy quip and pat on the back. So what are we to do?

Close your mouth and open your ears

When a hurting friend opens up about a struggle or crisis, we have to stop talking in order to hear them well.

For the remaining article by Meryl Herr: Shut Up and Listen | Today’s Christian Woman.

Unfailing Compassions > Kyria Blog

1 Dec

Unfailing Compassions

The truth behind God’s compassions and offering my own

by LaTonya Taylor

A couple months ago my friend Rosalyn asked me to sing soprano on a recording of her jazz-inflected arrangement of the 1923 hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

As I sang the first verse of the hymn—the verse that includes the phrase, “Thou changest not/ Thy compassions they fail not”—I found myself emphasizing the word compassions. Even though I sang the other portions of the verse slightly differently each time I recorded, one thing was always the same: I’d sung the word compassions more expansively than in the traditional rendering of the hymn.

A few weeks later I still find myself humming Rosalyn’s arrangement and thinking about the idea of compassions.

I know that the line I sang comes from the prophet Jeremiah’s reflection on why his people could trust God, even after the fall of Jerusalem: because God is unfailingly, renewably compassionate. I know too that as a child of God, I am to be compassionate.

Yet my understanding of that term has been fairly limited. I’ve only thought of “compassion” as singular, and with humanitarian connotations: it implies a willingness to respond to poverty or calamity with resources. A secondary meaning would be akin to deep sympathy.

As I think more about what it means be conformed to Christ’s image, I’m facing an ugly reality: My compassions fail frequently, and have hard limitations.

Click here to read the rest of the article: Kyria Blog: Unfailing Compassions.

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Compassion Around the Kitchen Table : Mentoring Moments for Christian Women

26 Oct

Compassion Around the Kitchen Table

Posted on October 11, 2011 : Filed under Mentoring, Women of God

“I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light” [Lamentations 3:1-2]

Around the kitchen table is a place of compassion because it is also a place where the consequences and complications of disobedience are revealed.

Read the rest of this short devotion here:  Compassion Around the Kitchen Table : Mentoring Moments for Christian Women.

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