Two things I would not have defined myself as before this summer: missional and compassionate.
Missional, in my mind, has always been associated with construction and being out in the hot summer sun attempting to use tools that – to be quite honest – I hate using.
Also, in my mind, compassion is linked to those “missional” people. Or, compassionate people are only those people that have enough drive and conviction to start non-profits and charities. Or they are the people covering Facebook with posts about those in need.
Last time I checked, I don’t do any of those things. Not to mention that I haven’t even volunteered since I started college three, almost four, years ago. Therefore, I never label myself as a compassionate person.
That is until I read Brene Brown’s words:
“The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become.”
Now, this is an idea I can get behind. One of my goals in life is to try and accept everyone as they are, where they are. Unconditional love. Mark 12 reminds us that Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (verse 31). This is exactly the type of attitude that makes for a compassionate person.
After weeks and months of a world’s and nation’s heartbreak, I find myself weeping while watching the news. I also find myself shaking my head while scrolling through my Facebook feed when I notice that people are choosing sides and ultimately arguing with others when they seem to be on the same page with different terminology.
Without getting into the politics of it all, my heart breaks. It absolutely shatters.
Even more, the shattering continues when I drive around this town and see people experiencing homelessness or even having to live in low-income housing that isn’t properly taken care of. It also continues on Sunday mornings where church walls become dividers for whatever reason in each church’s specific context.
It saddens me when people don’t recognize cycles of poverty and homelessness. It upsets me when people think that “going out and getting a job” is just that simple for people that can’t get out of the system we’ve blocked them into.
But – overall – it continues to break my heart when a human is surprised that I treat them with respect, dignity, and love. A human. A human made with the same rights as the rest of us but unfortunately was dealt a different set of cards through life.
It’s my goal to help people know that they are loved, regardless of what they’ve done or where they come from. “Loving your neighbor as yourself,” isn’t the easiest attitude adjustment to make.
However, I whole-heartedly believe that it can and will be the driving force for change in our discussions and communities. I believe that loving each other well makes us missional people. If we adopt each other into our tight-knit communities, showing each other that we have each person’s back, then we are being missional on a day to day basis. Being relationship driven can also be considered being a missional person.
Now if this, all of this sparked by Brene’s words, is compassion…
Well, then I guess you could say I’m aiming at becoming a more compassionate person focused on accepting myself and others, showing love to us all.