I’m Just Not Feeling It

1 Nov

“I’m just not feeling it”- a popular expression we hear all the time, meaning “I don’t feel inspired” or “I don’t like it.” Basically, it’s just a fancy technical word for quitting.

Today at church my pastor talked about emotion, about how it’s God-given, and not good or bad in itself. In particular, he was talking about anger. I want to talk about compassion, however, and apply the points he made to this principle (strangely enough, a lot of the conversation can apply, even though compassion and anger are often assumed to be on opposite ends of the spectrum!)

Because emotion in itself is neutral, it can be used to harm or help us depending on how we use it. When talking about anger, the pastor noted that there are two types: there is sinful anger (this is the “I am going to kill you slowly and painfully” kind) and then there is what he called sanctified anger. While sinful anger is obviously bad, hence the name “sinful anger,” the sanctified anger is not bad when wielded properly. When we become angry over injustice, for example, there is no shame in that. But this leads to the next point the pastor made: don’t just become angry… DO something about it! He said the Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin”[d]:Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.” Anger doesn’t do us any good if we just sit there and let it brew. In fact, it makes us worse. The pastor also cited Psalms 32:3, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Anger unresolved= deadly depression, bitterness, and hatred towards others, which ironically ends up damaging ourselves.

I now want to compare these principles to those of compassion. I can think of no way how unselfish compassion can be sinful, but I am becoming convinced that compassion bottled up inside us does no good. For example, I often feel sorry for people who are sitting by themselves or who appear to be having a bad day. Even so, I find a thousand excuses not to do anything about it, my favorite one being that I am an introverted person. I tell myself, “Oh, I’m too shy to talk,” or “Someone else will do that,” or “I’ll never be able to help them in time,” or something else like that and thus completely lose the opportunity to help someone. And then there’s the slamming that comes from my gut after I’ve done it: “I should have helped him” or “That person really was alone.” Then the boundless imagination takes stage, forming every kind of situation that person might have been in that day, blaming myself for not showing kindness.

Well, guess what? I’m tired of the sentimentality simmering like a sickeningly sweet candle, I’m sick of the excuses, and what I wouldn’t give to smash the violin! Compassion without action is pointless. Obviously having a warm heart is better than having a rotten soul which could rival the Grinch’s, but it’s not all about us, is it? If no one can see our heart, then we might as well waste away.

Like anger, compassion does not need to be left unresolved. And no, I’m still not an extroverted individual bouncing around with a sugary smile, but while all of those excuses were rolling around inside my head, I forgot two important things. For one, I forgot that I was the new kid not too long ago. I forgot how nice it felt to walk in church and be noticed. I forgot how nice it was to move to a new town and how people moved out of their way to make me comfortable in my new home. I forgot how just one smile or laugh can feel so good if I’m having a hard time. Mostly, I forgot the most important thing. I forgot Philippians 4:13, which tells me, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I don’t have to be extroverted. I don’t have to “feel it.” I just got to do what I can to show people God’s love, and God will definitely give me the strength. He gives me so many opportunities already, both in areas I’m okay in like this writing platform and in other places where I’m just learning to walk, like talking to strangers. As I was thinking about all this today, I kinda got a funny mental picture in my head. I was imagining Jesus with an all-knowing smile, looking over the edge of heaven to see what I was doing. I imagined He was saying something like, “Look at all the things God has given you. What are you going to do with all of it?” I believe it was God-inspired because in the Luke 12:48, Jesus did say, “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” We must use our resources wisely and compassionately. Indeed, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus said that when we help others, we are helping Christ, “37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:37-40). Therefore, if we do not help others, we might as well slam the door in Jesus’ face, “45He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’” (Matthew 25:45).

This week I challenge you and me to be think, love, and ACT Compassionately. Emotion is great, but “I’m not feeling it” just isn’t cutting it anymore. No excuse can stand against our mission, which is to follow Christ and show His love.

Have a great week! And let me know how you live up to the challenge!

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2 Responses to “I’m Just Not Feeling It”

  1. Diane November 1, 2015 at 7:18 PM #

    This is so good. I am so proud that you are my daughter! I love you, baby girl.

  2. Sarah Spradlin November 3, 2015 at 9:29 AM #

    This is awesome! Love the call to action. 🙂

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