"He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no pity."
II Samuel 12: 6
EXPLORATION "Compassionate Restoration"
"Why stand we here trembling around calling on God for help, and not ourselves, in whom God dwells, stretching a hand to save the falling man?"
What do I believe the word "compassion" really means in practical, every-day living?
How have I treated those in my life who need to feel God's restorative healing and love?
"Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, but God will never."
"Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones, His own representatives, who are well-loved by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle way and patience which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes. Be gentle and forbearing with one another…readily pardoning each other, even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive."
Colossians 3: 12, 13
I personally have a great distaste for the "political" season when here in the United States, the most vicious, name-calling advertisements pummel the air waves leaving in their wake accusations of dishonesty and worse.
If I could say that all this negativity was never carried out by people who called themselves Christians, I would be thrilled. However, this isn't the case. And instead, Christians, way too frequently resort to some of the same name-calling they contend their opponents use.
I found it rather puzzling a number of years ago when a political consultant, no less, came up with the phrase "compassionate conservative," then tried hard to link these words to Christians whom he hoped would believe this was the kind of compassion our Father calls us to embrace - - political compassion, of which there isn't much.
All I can say is how foolish we are when we limit our heavenly Father's ministry on earth to some slogan or party affiliation. God calls His children to be so much more than a slogan in a worldly campaign. And if, per chance, you don't believe what I just said, we need to look no further than our text today in II Samuel 12: 6.
When David recognized how the wealthy man had abused the poor man by taking his sheep and slaughtering it, as the head of the nation, as King of Israel, he commanded that "restoration" be made. Now if you look up the meaning of restoration, Webster's dictionary defines this word as "bringing back to the original state." In the business world this would mean that if I stole $100,000 from you, I would return $100,000. This would be following the "worldly" definition of restoration.
But something very striking happens when you and I enter God's kingdom - a kingdom our Father tells us is, "not of this world." A kingdom that doesn't operate like things do on this earth. Instead, we find that David ordered that the poor man be given restoration that was four times what was required.
To help me better understand this kind of "compassionate restoration," a phrase I find much more accurate in describing how our Father's kingdom works, I went to Luke 19 to reread a story I remembered from a song I learned as a young child about a man name Zacchaeus. In Luke 19: 2 he was described as, "the chief among the publicans, and he was rich." These are the exact words from the Bible.
It appears, that over a period of time, Zacchaeus began to hear about a man named Jesus. Then, he found out Jesus was coming to the city where he lived, Jericho. So Zacchaeus "sought to see Jesus who he was." It's interesting that the phrase "who he was," leads me to believe this wealthy man may have been asking himself, "Is this Jesus for real? He sounds too good to be true. Maybe he's a phony like all the other people I meet everyday, especially the religious folk who are oppressing the poor while they are getting rich on the side." Don't forget, this was exactly the behavior that prompted Jesus' cleansing of the temple from the money-changers who were using God's house, with the permission of the religious leaders, as a market for bartering.
When Jesus came to Jericho, because Zacchaeus was so short, he found a tree, climbed up in it and from his perch watched as Jesus came by. But something amazing happened. Jesus stopped in the road, looked up into the tree, and informed Zacchaeus that he wanted to have lunch with him that very day, in his home.
The Bible says Zacchaeus "joyfully received" Jesus and then, as this rich man began to understand the "compassionate restoration" that had been extended to him by Jesus' love, we are told, "Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusations, I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19: 8 K.J.V.). There it is, heaven's "compassionate restoration." It doesn't just take us and make us back to the way we were - that's the worldly way. Instead, in God's world, in the world you and I long to be part of, "compassionate restoration" puts no limits on how I respond to others who need God's restorative love. I'll even restore four times, if necessary, to bring back what is lost and what was taken.
Sara Paddison wrote, "When you make that one effort to feel compassion instead of blame or self-blame, the heart opens again and continues opening." This is what happened to Zacchaeus and it is what happened to David and it is what can happen to all of God's children if we will put no limits on the compassion and restoration we extend to everyone around us, not just our friends but our enemies, as well! As John of the Cross so perfectly expressed, after suffering terrible abuse and physical trauma at the hands of those who should have been his brethren, "Let all find compassion in you."
"The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate."
Arthur H. Stainback
""O Lord, open my eyes
that I may see the need of others,
open my ears that I may hear their cries,
open my heart so that they need not be without succour.
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak
because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor
because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to these places.
Open my eyes and ears that I may, this coming day,
be able to do some work of peace for thee."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.