On Cultivating a Gentle & Lowly Spirit

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29

Everyone is broken some way, some how.  

This plays out differently for each of us.  There's no one size fits all.   

For we have no idea what has occurred in the messy weaving of another's storyline.  We can't fully appreciate another's unique brokenness and if we try we'll come far short of grasping the immensity of its impact on the way they live their lives.

We don't have a clue about another's gene pool, upbringing, trauma, losses, catastrophes, betrayals, or other unspeakable circumstances they've had to make their way through.  

Some of us hide our pain quite well under a mask of fake-happy, phony spiritual piety, self-isolation, or commonly accepted addictions to food, shopping, work, relationships, or technology.  We gossip and slander in subconscious attempts to puff ourselves up, hoping that we'll somehow be seen as doing 'just fine' even as our emotional and spiritual pain churns deep within.  

Others are not able to hide their pain and it emerges in addiction to dangerous substances, catastrophic choices, abusive behavior, broken sexuality, violence, serious mental illness, and other tragic scenarios often fueled by fear, sorrow, and the belief that no one really cares.  

Jesus weeps. 

Misery and suffering comes with living in a broken world.  So I dare not be judge and jury, try to manipulate or fix, wield a Bible like a sledgehammer, or come up with simplistic 1 - 2 - 3 solutions to life-shattering heartbreak.

I dare only to listen well.  And have the compassion of Christ.

'Time and again it is the morally disgusting, the socially reviled, the inexcusable and undeserving, who do not simply receive Christ's mercy but to whom Christ most naturally gravitates.  He is, by his enemies' testimony, the "friend of sinners" {Luke 7:34}.

The cumulative testimony of the four Gospels is that when Jesus Christ sees the fallenness of the world all about him, his deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move toward that sin and suffering, not away from it ... Pity flooded his heart, the longing of true compassion' {pages 27-31}.  

Gentle and Lowly: the Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers 
- Dane Ortland
Hardcover Book
Book & Study Guide - pre-order for 8/17 publication
Book & Journal - pre-order for 8/17 publication

'Everyone needs compassion ... the kindness of a Savior,' but sadly, in our current culture, far too many Christ-followers are 'known for how deeply we judge, not for how deeply we love.'  

As you begin to think about your next Bible Study / Small Group / Book Club, this month's Bookbag selection just might be the ticket to cultivating a more tender, merciful, loving faith ~

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