Sunday, July 19, 2009

Some thoughts :: compassion AND compliance

compassion AND compliance

When I consider faith... that is, my faith in Jesus... I am struck by the thought that we need compassion and compliance. Not just to live compassionate and compliant lives... as in to display all the attributes of someone who is compassionate and compliant... but to BE the compassion and compliance that I believe is necessary to live a life of love in Jesus' name. Let me explain.

The compassion bit is easy to grasp... I am to love God and love our neighbour. I am to love because God first loved us. He loved me so much that He sent Jesus to become the new way to a life lived in all its fullness.

My faith is founded on compassion - love for God / love for the other... if I do not speak/act/think/live in love then I fall short of all that God intends for me.

Compassion is easy to grasp... but not so easy to be. Loving those who do not love us is counter-intuitive... and, at times, very hard to do.

As for compliance... that's not so easy to grasp for me. Compliance is about conforming in accordance with the will of someone or something outwith ourselves.

Conforming isn't a positive attribute for me... certainly not as straightforward as caring for someone or something. I don't do conformity very well and yet... ironically... I subscribe / conform to patterns of thought on a regular basis.

Maybe its the anti-establishment / DIY ethos of punk that has its influence here... but my initial thoughts on conformity & conforming are that of revulsion - following the herd... going with the follow... uniformity... sheep... you get where I am coming from.

But I believe I must seek... in all I do... to "be like Christ". I must conform to Him & HIs teaching. This should be the one & only judgement on my life - am I living like Him?

I don't believe we should be conformed to any other standard than this... especially someone else's view of what being "like Christ" means. This goes as far as saying I am not bound to the Law of the Old Testament but am bound to the grace that comes in Jesus. I am not held to the legalism of the Pharisees but to the grace of the New Testament.

So, please, let's remove the judgement that comes with exclusivity & seek to discern what this means to ourselves... to me. I want to use the teaching & life of Christ to connect people... not use it to divide people as the Law did... and does to this day. In this way, conforming holds an appeal... I want to be like my Lord... especially when I consider His compassion to the other.

If I don't show compassion & love then can I say I am being like Him?

Thing is... compliance isn't just about conforming... it is also about cooperation. Its about working with something in obedience as well as being "forced" to do something.

I must be obedient to the teachings of Jesus & the leading of His Holy Spirit. In doing so, I work with them... I cooperate with them in the greater plan that is the Kingdom of God.

My faith isn't based on what I do but on God's love & compassion... but in this... I am transformed & seek to embody this transformation in what I do. I will seek to be like Christ... be obedient to Him & work with Him for the Kingdom.

I can't be obedient & seek to cooperate with Him without compassion... they are not mutually exclusive but go hand-in-hand. Its all about my thought AND deed... faith AND works... compassion AND compliance.

In the end, I can't love without obeying as much as I can't obey without loving.

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