[If you missed Part 1, be sure to go back to yesterday's post to read it.]
Jesus will give us hearts of compassion for broken people. The Bible says of Jesus, “a bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench”. Just try looking up the word “compassion” in your Bible concordance. God is one to be moved by compassion.
If you stay in children’s ministries long enough (and “long enough” may not be very long at all!), you are bound to meet a child who seems anything but lovable. Ornery, yes. Defiant, yes. Proud, perhaps. But lovable? No.
It may seem to all outward appearances that the child does not care one bit about who you are or what you have to share. Maybe even he shows up at your VBS or children’s meeting because his parents wanted a break from him. I do not say this to be mean, but only because it is too often true.
What do we do with such children? Often the thing most needed by the “unlovable” is love. Patient, persevering love. The love that comes only from above. The child is broken, apparently beyond repair. Their spirit is hardened–there is not a thing we can do about it. But God delights in making the impossible possible. There is plenty that He can do about it.
So what do we do? Pray, be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, and watch God work. Sure, not every child is going to allow himself to be mended–but some will, and if even one does, then our efforts were worth every bit.
Paul bids us in his letter to the Colossian church: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
It is very possible that that “forgiveness” part is going to come into play, for broken people very often set out to break other people–especially the people that seek to mend the broken. There are a few other words in that passage, though, that perhaps you are unfamiliar with. Let me briefly address those.
We are the “elect” of God–that is, His chosen people.
“Mercy” is compassion and the desire to treat someone kindly, even though you may have the power to do otherwise. To really make it clear, I like Dictionary.com’s definition of “compassion”: “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
“Humbleness” is realizing that we truly are unworthy of the goodness that God has sent our way. We know we deserve the death penalty just as much as anyone else, and yet Jesus paid the price for us.
Humbleness tends to lead to meekness. To be “meek” is to be gentle, patient even in difficult situations and under wrong treatment, submissive to God’s will above our own.
God wants to mend broken people, and He wants to give us a part in the plan. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body [We are a team!]; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) We can count on God, and “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not“!
Have you had the opportunity to work with “broken” children? What has helped in leading them to Jesus? Or, on the other hand, what frustrations are you still trying to figure out?
->You might also enjoy katharinetrauger’s post on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken.
***Hasten Home is excited to announce the release of a new, original set of Vacation Bible School materials. It talks of God’s law, the Ten Commandments–which at its heart is all about mending the broken. You may purchase VBS–The Land of Milk & Honey from our store, or if you have questions, just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Milk & Honey” in the subject line.***