For this fifth and final episode in the A Case for Compassion series, I’m going to get personal. While writing these posts, I became acutely aware of one of the weakest spots in my Christian walk.
Before I air some of my dusty linen, I want to share a bit about my family’s pets. We have several cats. But the first two are the ones I will share today. (And the pictures only feature cats numbers two and three.)
One is a rescue cat. The other isn’t. The rescue cat walks around the house gingerly, as though she expects something dangerous to jump out from every nook and cranny. The other cat is from a kind family who loved on her from day one. She is carefree. The only time she’s alarmed is when someone turns a vacuum cleaner on. And yet, our blender is louder and she doesn’t budge from her spot on the kitchen carpet when I fire it up.
It’s humbling to admit this, but I’m like our rescue cat. My weakness hampers my ability to give and receive love as well as I could. I hold myself back. I withhold my time and attention from others as a protective measure. But the more I dug into the topic of compassion, the more I realized my lack of showing compassion towards others. Instead of compassion, I often engaged in suspicion. When people were kind to me, I questioned their motives.
Unfortunately, this is a common response for people who’ve suffered abuse and/or neglect in their past.
People who’ve been harmed tend to be hyper-wary of being harmed again. They struggle with trust issues. Trust is essential for serenity.
Trust is a vital component of love too. We can’t love our neighbors or ourselves properly without it. If trust has been broken, it’s difficult to trust again. But it’s not impossible. It begins with the mind.
Here’s what we’re to think about:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV
It’s impossible to have compassion for ourselves or others when our thoughts are filled with mistrust. Even if something has triggered fear in us—or reminded us of past hurts—it won’t hurt to rein in the negative thoughts. It’s better to think about whatsoever is positive instead. The truth will eventually rise to the surface.
It’s a shame when we wasted time dwelling on bad thoughts and then it turns out all was well.
I know this from experience.
Compassionate thoughts are necessary for our mental health too. We’re also blessed when we have compassion for ourselves. When we’re triggered and our anxiety ramps up, we can tamp it down with compassionate self-talk.
By acknowledging our pain and then reframing our thoughts we can respect our need to feel safe and respect the need for others to be trusted. Although blind trust isn’t wise, blindly mistrusting isn’t helpful either. There’s a balancing act we can reach by placing all our trust in the God of compassion.
Let’s look at what God says about it:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
All our needs are met by God. He is the one who satisfies our hearts. He is our source of lasting joy and peace. When we look to Him more, we’ll worry about what others are up to less. And what does God want us to think about others? Let’s start with what He doesn’t want us to think:
In your hearts do not think evil of each other. Zechariah 7:10 NIV
Besides the Bible telling us to think whatsoever is lovely about each other it says this about our minds:
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Zechariah 7:10 NIV
Well, dear friend, in this series I haven’t shared half of the multitude of verses that are available regarding compassion, yet I’ve still shared enough to make a hefty case for compassionate thoughts being a worthy target for each of us. Not only is God good, but His word is good for us to heed.
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
Whatever is lovely ought to be in our thoughts
For the Bible tells us this so we won’t be distraught
Whatever is praiseworthy ought to fill our minds
Because thinking positive thoughts is the healthiest kind.
I’m nosy-to-know if you have any verses about compassion to add?Whatever is lovely ought to be in our thoughts for the Bible tells us this so we won’t be distraught. #Bible #ChristianLiving Click To Tweet Whatever is praiseworthy ought to fill our minds because thinking positive thoughts is the healthiest kind. #bibleverse #faith Click To Tweet
Compassionate Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
*** Are you interested in a free list of ten tips to help you be a better listener? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter here (If you’re already a subscriber and want the download, let me know and I’ll send it to you.) : 10 Good Habits GiveAway
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Spotify | Podcast Index | Email | RSS
12 thoughts on “A Case for Compassionate Thoughts”
Hi Wendy! It’s Alan Anderson here. Thank you for this post on compassion. I like what you say about trust and mistrust. This is a part of life I have contended with most of my days. With most people, including some family members, I find myself somewhere in between your two cats. There are times I prefer cats to people. 🙂 Blessings to you, my friend.
Thank you, Alan. Your comment made me smile because it reminded me of a Pinterest post that made me laugh this morning. It was about preferring to be in a garden because people made her head hurt. Yup. I love getting out in nature to recharge. I love people, but only for a bit at a time or I get overwhelmed (and become overwhelming). 🙂
Blessings to you both, dear friend.
As an example of compassion, I always loved the Good Samaritan. As a member of a despised class, he could easily have walked by the wounded man, saying, “I’ve got my own problems.” But he was able to get out of his little world and help a stranger. I don’t know if this was a true story, but I’m thinking it was. Jesus didn’t say, “Suppose a man went..” He just said, “A man went …”
That’s a perfect example of reframing what culture had told the Samaritan to think. Kindness is always the better way to think and behave. Yes, I bet Jesus spotted a lot of good and bad examples He could have written about. He’s the Master Story Teller and the best Author. I’m so glad He’s working on our stories too. Thank you for your comment, dear friend.
Thank YOU, Wendy. Yes, He IS the Author of our stories, isn’t He? 😊💕
Wendy, thank you for sharing this well written post. I identify with all you described. I wrestle with trust issues and far too often am like the cat who, “walks around the house gingerly, as though she expects something dangerous . . .” I’m improving through counseling, biblical recovery, being amongst safe people, and the sanctification of Christ.
I’m not a cat person but love the photos they are gorgeous. Yehovah bless you.
Thank you for sharing a bit about your story, dear Manette. I’ve discovered recovery is a lifelong journey. And since Jesus is our Healer, I’m okay with that. 🙂 He’s so gentle and kind to us. Blessings, my friend. <3
This is so good, Wendy. Thank you for taking the time to post it. Now to work on reframing my thoughts. :\
Love how you some up everything in your creative poems at the end. Your kitty pictures are so pretty.
Thank you, dear Mary. Reframing is a continual process for me. I’m grateful for the Word that helps me filter out what’s not helpful. Abundant peace and joy flow when we submit our thoughts to Him. The Holy Spirit is our gracious Teacher. I’m glad He’s not an accuser like our enemy is. Blessings, my friend. I appreciate you.
Yes, I agree …the Word keeps us on track! You have put some really good scriptures here to help with that. When I feel anxious, I stop and ask myself what I am thinking on. Most of the time it’s not Phil 4:8 stuff. It’s a continual process for me, too. Thankful for His grace. Blessings to you, too!
Thank you & blessings.