Compassion and Confession Go Together

We read in the letter of James to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we may be healed.

Confession–a spiritual discipline I may never have discussed. It consists of the admitting to trusted others and to God the thoughts we have dwelled upon or actions we have done or not done that brought us farther away from God and others.

If we confess, then we are healed. Before we confess, we must recognize. When we see ourselves in those things and realize it, then we can tell others in a trusted atmosphere and seek healing. Just ask a therapist. Or an experienced pastor.

What started this line of thinking, believe it or not, was the serious lack of compassion that I see in our society. I hear or read so many callous remarks describing other people. It is so easy to dismiss people who are not like us by grouping them together and then trying to sound either funny or wise by describing them in sometimes very nasty terms.

This, by the way, is not an American phenomenon. I’ve seen it pop up in many cultures. It’s a human problem.

I’m not a “welfare state” liberal who believes I can absolve myself of responsibility for compassion by passing it on to the government. Can you imagine the power in society if all the congregations that call themselves Christian lived out Jesus’ teachings about compassion and helping the poor? Wow!

Some can be found helping others while remaining with a superior attitude. “I’ll toss them a couple of dollars,” they think. This is arrogance and condescension. Not compassion.

Compassion is not “bleeding heart liberalism” like many conservatives used to label people (or maybe still do, I don’t know). Compassion is controlled emotion. It begins with recognizing our own shortcomings. Realizing with gratitude the grace that has come to us. Wanting from the heart to share that grace.

Confession and compassion–a lifestyle of grace turned outward.

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