Ministry people all have their own experiences with enduring hardness and I specifically asked a group of people in and around ministry what factors they believed made the difference in having compassion. These answers come from a range of ages and places around the country.
Here is what they had to say!
“I think one thing that makes a difference is if we are serving for God or serving for the people.” ~Pastor’s Wife in Vermont
“I’ve seen those that get hardened usually have pride, they forget the grace given to them, they base their ‘service’ on results, or they themselves operate from a position of going through the motions. The service they render is no longer real to them and heart is far from the ministry at hand. Regarding the tender-hearted, they maintain a level of humility, they are thankful for the grace given by God and man, they never forget where they could be, and they walk with God, which keeps them tender and humble. As we draw closer to a loving God, we recognize the love we don’t deserve and are willing to share it because it was given so freely to us. As one person put it, salvation is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. It’s when we stop seeing ourselves that way that we start getting hardened.” ~Pastor in New Mexico
“Always remember that even when people offend us; God has not changed; people offending us should never change our service to Him. I imagine it helps to focus your mind on those who still serve God as opposed to those who don’t.” ~Youth Pastor’s Wife in Maryland
“Maybe it is judging versus forgiving. Knowing that we are all sinners and that another’s sin is no better or worse than our own. Just a different sin. We have a tendency to judge people harshly if their sin is different than ours. When we realize how wicked we are then, we can have a more forgiving attitude and loving spirit toward those we serve or those that serve us. Mom was a prime example of that. She had the most forgiving spirit I have ever known. It was almost like she didn’t even know they ever did anything wrong. She loved and she was loved!” ~Senior Saint that was a Pastor’s Kid
“Realizing that ‘… we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12) The devil loves it when believers are hard against each other, for then the gospel is hindered. Also, forgiving those who hurt us, and seeking forgiveness when we’ve hurt someone…because we will hurt people whether we mean to or not. Bottom line is just striving to be like Jesus, Who reviled not when He was reviled, and Who sacrificed Himself for us.” ~Pastor’s Wife in Michigan
“Forgiveness,Forgiveness,Forgiveness!!! So simply said, but hard to do at times!” ~Pastor’s Wife
“Perspective…when we view people through God’s eyes, we see them much differently than when viewed through our sin marred eyes.” ~Sunday School Teacher in Oklahoma
“Realize they are human and that they are probably hurting. I’ve been a pastor’s kid and preacher’s wife. Hard on both ends. Always do what Jesus would, with His heart and not your own.” ~Pastor’s Wife in New York
Taking some specific thoughts from the answers above, check your life and heart and think about whether you do these things.
- Do I serve God instead of man?
- Do I have humility instead of pride?
- Do I have tenderness that comes from a thankful heart?
- Do I recognize the love God has given to me and share it?
- Do I focus on God who does not change, even when offenses come?
- Do I see who I am as a sinner or focus on judging people because their sin is different?
- Do I forgive over and over again?
- Do I recognize the problems that come are likely a result of a spiritual battle?
- Do I view people from God’s perspective or my own?
- Do I love with God’s heart even when I do not feel like it?
A Few Thoughts From The Ministry Mama
These are very Biblical and pointed questions… for me some of the thoughts caused me to have to meditate on them for a while. I hope that although this is not a blog post centered around a specific verse or study like I usually do, you will take these questions into consideration.
I know I fall short… I am not God and cannot be Him or like Him all the time. I can only live within the moment and honestly pray that I will make the right choice to be obedient. I am not always the type of person that demonstrates love and grace like I should or even as thankful as I even wish my own children to be. But I can make a conscious decision to ask God to show me when He wants me to be more compassionate when I serve my family and other people in this world.
Will we get it right every time? No. Will be blow it sometimes? Yes. Ask for forgiveness and move on… compassion is always centered around having a heart that yearns for people and is usually followed by a demonstration of mercy. If you will be aware and in tune with God, He will show you needs and give you the chance to be able to put your Biblical knowledge into practice.
I hope you enjoy this post. My hope is that I can do more Q&A posts in the future! If you have any questions that you would like answered please contact me and share them with me in an e-mail.