Monday, December 29, 2014

If we walk in compassion, we walk in the light.

"Compassion is not just feeling with someone, but seeking to change the situation. Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action!” - Desmond Tutu (South African social rights activist)

Scripture text: (1 JN 2:3-11)
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

It doesn't get any more honest or clear; however "honest and clear" does not mean easy.

Today the signs of the times are colored by division and strife. We live in a world which challenges our ideas around how we should treat our fellow human beings, even when we disagree with them. When I watch the news I find my own feelings of anger rising and I can quickly judge others and their actions. Sadly, many times the compassion, which should be in my heart as a member of the Christian family melts from the light into darkness if I am not very careful.

The truth of the matter is God gives us the dignity of participating in our own salvation by choosing and He gives us the respect of confirming and developing our fundamental faith choice a little more every day by our little choices of values and actions rather than forcing us to choose our destiny in one simple and crushing decision. It is a matter of growth and of slow but steady progress, just as in all aspects of our human life and all our endeavors.

St. John in the scripture passage today is calling us to actual and effective love rather than to mere politeness. So don’t make the mistake of boxing up the gift of Jesus’ presence and putting it away until next year—or even next Sunday. Your life may seem to go on as usual after the end of the Christmas season, but because Jesus has been born into our world and into your heart, everything is new. Nothing can ever be the same.

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