"The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us." - A.W. Tozer


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love, Truth and the No Man’s Land Between

I bought the world’s tiniest but most ah-mazing dot-to-dot book for our kids. They are handing that thing around like a pan of gold. Since I am a giver, I don’t want anyone feeling left out. Here’s a dot-to-dot of quotes about compassion and truth and what has nothing to do with either. Get out your favorite pen and have-at-it.

From  R.C. Sproul Jr. via Dec 2010 Tabletalk: “Compassion, rightly understood, means entering into the passion, or suffering, of others. It means setting aside our own concerns, our own fears, our own needs, and not just supplying but feeling the needs of those around us. This, ironically, happens not when we have all that we need. It happens instead when we come to understand that we have nothing and that we need nothing. Compassion flows not out of the well-satisfied but from those who have not. There is, in turn, only on way to do this—die to self. When my aspirations, my hopes and dreams, my wants are crucified, I enter into liberty. I am free to take up the concerns of others. A dead man has no need to protect his comfort. He has no need to protect his wealth. He has no need at all to protect his reputation. Perhaps Janis Joplin had it right: freedom may just be another word for “nothing left to lose.””

From Louie Konopka’s (my pastor) messages on Ephesians: “If you are like Christ, you move toward people.”

From Epicetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher: “This is our predicament. Over and over again, we lose sight of what is important and what isn’t.”

From C.S. Lewis: “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

From Flannery O’Connor: “The fact is that if the [person’s] attention is on producing…a work that is good in itself, he is going to take great pains to control every excess…He cannot indulge in sentimentality, in propagandizing, or in pornography and create a work of art, for all these things are excesses.  They call attention to themselves and distract from the work as a whole.” *

From Federico Garcia Lorea, a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think."

From Louie on Revelation 2:1-7: “We cannot grow beyond love. We must grow into it. Truth is the platform to get us there. When you do this you recognize each person as an image, give them their rightful place in life, do what is right to/for them.”

*I’m only going to editorialize this one thing. The Flannery O’Connor quote is about writers, but I’ve included it because I think a great danger and misuse of compassion is found from sentimentality. Sentimentality is dangerous like judgmentalism or pornography. When you are motivated by sentimentality, the image of God is distorted in men and therefore, truth is marred and then the balance is lost and you begin to abuse relationships.

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