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Compassion or Cold? How Does Your Past Affect You?

Today’s post from Doug Fields doesn’t directly mention marriage, but man is it so applicable. In marriage our personal wounds, past experiences, etc. can either make us empathetic or distant. Sympathetic or sarcastic. When our spouse is struggling do our past wounds push us to minimize their hurt, or to reach out and say “I understand. I’ve felt that too.” It’s not exaggeration to say one of these approaches will kill your marriage, and the other will make it closer than you thought possible. Enjoy!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. –2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Growing up, I was lousy at telling jokes. But, I love to laugh. I love teaching with humor–my thought is that tough truth always goes down a lot easier when the congregation’s mouths are open. So, about fifteen years ago, I took a stand-up comedy class hoping to improve my skills. The first four weeks we developed and practiced a routine, and then we had to perform a fifteen-minute set at the Improv–a local comedy club full of real, live people who weren’t our classmates.

I must admit, on the night of the big show…I completely bombed!

People started booing after my first few jokes. They totally rejected me. So, I stopped and started and stumbled through my whole routine–everything I had so carefully crafted–and I still had ten minutes to go. Even people closest to me said things like, “Yeah, Doug, that was rough.” It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

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But do you know what the experience did for me? It made me more compassionate. If you want to try anything risky in your life, invite me along–I’ll be there to cheer you on! (And I promise not to boo!) I have a huge heart for anyone who does anything on stage in front of other people. I know how hard it can be. You can bet I won’t reject you.

There’s something that happens whenever you take that which has been rejected and broken in you and offer it to others in the form of compassion and understanding. This is the type of love that can change and help other people and open their hearts to the ways of God.

God is in the business of redeeming rejection for His glory. He can make all things new! Our part is to cooperate with His plan. Our own rejection can empower us to be more compassionate to the sources of our rejection. We can see them through God’s eyes. The rejection loses its power over us. We can then be tools in God’s hands to heal the pain of others’ rejection. And isn’t this what you want to be–someone God can use to heal others?

1. Who has or is rejecting you? To whom do you need to offer compassion?

2. How might feeling and expressing compassion to this person help redeem your rejection?