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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Discipleship (02/23/04)

TITLE: Discipleship 101 Compassion
By Robert Coskrey
02/29/04

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After getting brainfried trying to figure out what write about discipleship,
I looked up the definition of disciple. Among the definitions one jumped
out at me. " One who follows the example of Jesus." Something came to
me about discipleship. Discipleship is the act of learning how to follow
Jesus' example in all we do.

There is so much to look at in following Jesus' example however, I want
to look at one. How in some ways Jesus showed compassion toward people
while followers wanted to turn them away. Jesus said at one point that he
came for the sick and the oppressed. To set them free.

Jesus lived up to this claim by healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind,
feeding the multitudes, raising the dead and having dinner with sinners. Many
questioned Jesus for these things. If you go back and read many of the instances
where Jesus reached out to people, there were those that felt he didn't have any
business associating with adulterers, people possessed by demons and such. In
fact people told Jesus to stear clear of these types.

For some reason Jesus could not turn people away or turn away from them himself.
The reason? Compassion. Even more it would have been unjust for Jesus to claim to
be here for the oppressed and the sick then, turn around and leave them out. Jesus could
not descriminate against people regardless of their lifestyle. If they came to him, to repent,
he accepted them without question.

As Christians, what kind of impact would we have if we had compassion on others?
The compassion to see past people's lifestyle or sin and see their need for Jesus.
The compassion to help those in our midst that because of sin, disillusionment or
deep seeded hurts, fall away from God. The compassion to show them with our example
what no one else could, would, or cared enough to. The Lord's ability to deliver them and
restore them to the joy of salvation many have lost the grasp on.

Imagine what would happen if we accepted sinners with open arms. They come wanting to
give up their adulterous, homosexual, addictive, or backslidden lifestyles. What if we just
opened our doors and said come on in, there's room for you. Jesus has been waiting too.

I think the spirit of compassion has been lost in our churches. I think in a way we have lost
the ability to share Jesus with the world. I have experienced this for myself and been completely
dumbfounded by the lack of compassion. Asking for prayer and getting instead, told that I
bother people. Asking for help or guidance in my life and told instead that I live in sin. Missing
church for periods of time and instead of anyone asking why, people assuming I don't really
love the Lord. Even, on many occasions, for no reason, being told I'm not wanted. These things
happening in several churches. Where was the compassion?

When people are treated as criminals for asking for prayer or help or guidance, compassion has
surely died and been replaced with condemnation. With a spirit of writing people off and betraying
people to face their difficulties alone finding no relief or answers and surely never knowing the peace
of God. Left just thinking they have lost the fight and no one cares. Never knowing that life can be
different.


Surely to fulfil this aspect of discipleship, following the example of Jesus, we must remember showing
compassion to any that need it.


Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee03/02/04
faith works though love. When we truly love and have compassion, then it is amazing how much our faith can move mountains in the lives around us.
Dave Wagner03/02/04
Well, one could read a lot into this piece, if one wanted to...I'm mildly curious what the people in these churches you refer to would say in your case...is it really a universal loss of compassion? Perhaps there are perception problems on both sides...It's not necessarily that I don't believe you, it's just kinda hard to picture something that is so far from my own personal experience with churches/church people...for it to happen so often to you...hmm... I don't know.

In any case, aside from a few structural problems/anomolies, it's solidly written and holds interest to the end. I appreciate your post. Good luck find a church where you fit. Blessings.
shirley shields03/03/04
Robert I enjoyed your article. I totally agree with your perception about compassion lacking in our churches today. I have persoannly exsperienced it myself. They are too busy with the popular programs are dont care to get involved.
While I dont know what your exsperiences might have been, I can relate on mine or one of them. I care for my elderly mother who has Alsheimers and am pretty much tied down 24/7, but I know the Lord wanted me to take this on and not put her away in a nursing home situation. Few people care to visit and fellowship in this situation or for that matter in a nursing home setting either.You see I sat with my dad there for 7 months before this time with my mother. Often I have found apathy and even a few judgemental attitudes from fellow christians because I chose to obey what the Lord said to me and can no longer participate as I did before in the local fellowship. I was heavily involved with the outreach ministries and teaching for years. But the Lord showed me what Matthew 23: actually was, they strain at a gnat and swallow a camel at times concerning what is important..that being following the Lords directions, not man made ones. I can only forgive them any hurt they have caused me and pray that the Lord will open their eyes of compassion to others needs. The Lord has more than blessed me for my obedience, He even sends me helpers when needed. Many times I have found the most compassionate are not always christians, that gives me the opportunity to continue witnessing of my love for the Lord. God Bless you for your insights,continue on and see what the Lord will do in your life. Good article.