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Degrees Of Compassion


Have you ever noticed how we, as humans, have the need to compare things? We nonchalantly describe things and, shockingly so, people as the tallest, the greatest, the poorest, the funniest etc. (the superlative form of degrees of comparison). Now, I don't think this is wrong per se, but what is the heart behind it when we do this? And more so, does it honour Abba Yah when we succumb to this manner of relating?


I had the privilege of being in prestigious schools when I grew up. Sadly though, a child's worth was measured by performance and accomplishments in either academics or sports. Neither of these held my area of expertise. I longed to also be seen as worthy by my peers and my teachers. Yet, time after time, no matter how hard I tried, I failed (according to the system of comparison). After years of constant messages of "You failed to accomplish according to our standards.", I started to believe a lie: I am a failure. Much can be said about how a child is formed in their early years, especially by those closest to them. But that is not today's specific train of thought. While I am touching on that subject though, it is vitally important to teach our precious little ones to know who Abba says they are.

Let's get back to the comparison strategy. As human beings, we constantly have a need to make sense of the world around us. Categorizing is one of the methods that I have observed, in which we do so. Let me use an illustration.


A new woman joins a Bible study group. No one knows her yet. So we ask questions, we observe closely to form an idea of who she is. Where does she come from? Oh, she grew up in a town with a university, and her dad works at the university. She also wears glasses. Loosely we assume that she must be into academics of some sort. Maybe she's a librarian? In reality she loves adventure and sports. We ask how many brothers and sisters she has? And just because she answers "None.", we assume that she must be an only child- in that case, she must be self centered and self absorbed. In truth, she lost her twin sister in a motor accident when she was a teenager and her parents struggled with infertility for many years.


She is quite skinny and therefore people assume that she has an obsession with her weight, possibly even an eating disorder. In reality, she has an autoimmune disease and really struggles to maintain a healthy weight. She is very insecure when it comes to this topic. She also has a lot of fears about possibly being infertile herself based on her weight and her genetic predisposition.


In greater reality she needs compassion much more than she needs comparison.


As humans, we cannot help but to place people in certain categories. We try to make sense of the world around us, and we use comparison as a tool to make it more digestible for ourselves.


So what exactly is comparison? It is a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.


There are numerous categories that we choose to define people with, through the means of comparison.


Their age

Their race

Their country of birth

Their home language

Their gender

Their family history

Their hair colour

Their accent

Their style

Their marital status

Their church denomination

Their weight and height

Oh, how the list goes on and on...


Comparison is also used when we categorize people based on their temperament or personality. We find some kind of comfort zone in them. We make statements like, I am a Mediator on the Myers Briggs personality type and therefore I am unfocused etc. Or I am a 4 on the Enneagram. If you haven't yet, please look into the origins of the enneagram. This is a great resource:


Temperament is the way in which people behave and is not an identity in itself, yet we often define people by their temperament.


We ask people what type of temperament they have and we judge them based on that temperament or personality type. We try to figure out whether people are extroverts or introverts. When in fact people can not be defined by either but rather we function in one way or the other.


I highly recommend that you watch (or listen to) this video by Emma of Therapy in a nutshell. Pause and truly ask yourself how you define yourself and others and whether these degrees of comparison and categories are measuring up to the truth of who God says you are.


We want to narrow people down into neatly labeled boxes for our own comfort. At least we'll sort of know what to expect from them then. I completely understand that we have the need to do so, but how did Yeshua do this "relating thing" when He dwelt on this earth as a human being?


Let me take you back to a city in ancient Israel. A place called Samaria. Interestingly enough the meaning of Samaria in Hebrew is Watch Mountain and it is mentioned at least a 100 times in the Old Testament. This place was where some of the ten tribes of Israel dwelt in the time of Yeshua. They intermarried with other nations and became a mixed race. Their worship was not pure anymore but diluted and entangled with idolatry. The Jews hated them and thought of themselves much higher than the Samaritans. I always thought that it was because they were just gentiles like the Romans were, but it was because of hundreds of years of division within Yah's household (the 12 tribes split into ten and two just after Solomon's reign). A kingdom and household divided against itself. Prejudice was already within the hearts of Yah's people. It was deeply rooted. The Jews thought themselves to be a purebred people and looked down on the mixed race of "Israelites" in Samaria.



Now, one day Yeshua and His disciples were on their way to Galilee (you can read the full story in John 4- this is only a retelling.) A 'good' Jew would never plan to go through Samaria. Yet Yeshua did. He chose to go through Sychar which literally means Drunken. Oh my! At this very moment prejudice wants to overwhelm my own heart. So He meets a lady here, at the most unpopular time of the day, at Jacob's well.


Here is what we know of her in categorical form;


Race: mixed race (probably of Assyrian and Israelite heritage)

Gender: a woman (which already was something to be looked down upon in those days)

Marital status: divorced, widowed and currently unmarried but living with a man in sin.

Social status: extremely unpopular.

Hometown: place of the drunkards.


You see how easy we form a picture of someone in our hearts by means of comparison and categorizing them?


Yeshua did not allow the facade to dictate how He saw her. He saw her as worthy to give Him a drink of water, to fulfill a purpose in His Kingdom. She immediately hid away behind the labels stuck on her.


She saw herself as unworthy, yet He saw her as precious enough to give a gift to.


She found her identity in fathers who had died long ago, yet He was inviting her to drink from living waters that will give her eternal life.


She had a sense of hope to see the day that Messiah would come, yet He was standing right in front of her. And He was not excluding her in those who might be called the true worshippers. He didn't look at all the categories to deem her as fit for the Kingdom but rather He was looking at her heart. From within the right heart one can become a worshipper in Spirit and in Truth.



What would happen if we, as believers, used degrees of compassion instead of degrees of comparison to measure people? What if we had Yeshua's attitude of compassion and mercy instead of fulfilling our human need of comparing and defining people based on their background or temperament? What would happen if we saw someone's story not as a defining moment of who they are but rather as a canvas to be used for God's glory?


You see, dear friends, we impose limits on ourselves and on those around us by the ways in which we define ourselves and others. We limit growth. With ease we stick labels on others with all kinds of comparing definitions written on them. And then we believe those labels, about others and about ourselves. You must have heard about the book by Max Lucado, called You Are Special. It is an absolute gem and captures this concept perfectly.


When all is said and done, all that truly matters is what our Maker calls us.


And He calls us, beloved daughters and sons.

He calls us a royal priesthood.

He calls us set apart, different and holy.

He says: "You are My treasured possession."


Do you see it? Do the labels stuck on you through comparison and categorising, truly belong to you? Does it truly align with the Truth of what your Maker says about you?


It is time to reassess the things you believe about yourself and others. It is time that those beliefs are only grounded and rooted in what our Abba says.


So, let's glance over the concept of degrees of comparison.

Degrees of Comparison are adjectives that change form and are used to compare one thing or person to another. There are three types; the positive form, the comparative form and the superlative form. Here is an example:


Joseph was brave.

David was braver.

But Daniel was the bravest.


Nothing is wrong in essence with describing things in this manner, but beloved, can you see how this can easily lead us down a road of discontentment and misplacing our value in Messiah? For instance:


Sarah was beautiful.

Ruth was more beautiful.

But Esther was the most beautiful.


You see, we were never meant to constantly compare things and people with each other in order to determine the value thereof. In the above-mentioned examples, you can clearly see this. Was Daniel truly the bravest? Or is the truth rather that all three these men were brave and their boldness were used for Yah's kingdom. The same rings true for all three those ladies. Neither of them did anything to deserve their beauty, but Yah made them beautiful for the display of His splendour.


What would have happened if they had all lived at the same time and space? This is the point I'm trying to make, it is so easy for us as humans to use unequal weights and measures when comparing abstract concepts, like bravery. And maybe, we should be careful in using these measures.


Yeshua used it but in an upside down way. He valued the least of these and He identified with the least. He also stated that children are seen as the least of people, but that the Kingdom belongs to them. In human terms, this simply doesn't make sense. It also does not make sense that Yeshua went to the grossest place in the area (Samaria), choosing the drunkest place (Sychar), and within that town He chose the most unwanted person. He chose the women at the well and revealed to her that He was the Messiah! That is mind boggling! But it reveals so much of Yah's character to us. He longs for us to see the world through His eyes, to treasure the things that He treasures and to love like He loves us.


May we redeem our way of comparing and categorizing and rather choose compassion the way Yeshua did.


In Him we live

And move

And have our being


Shalom

Carmen Tehillah



Encompass my heart

with Your compassion

For those who need favour

Aren't we all in need of a Saviour?

For all have sinned and fallen short

So be careful not to let pride distort

Your gaze

On the subject of grace

A compass so true

Is His Spirit within you

Directing you to where you should go

Equipping you to better know

The Words spoken by our King

Coming alive with His understanding

His Word being a map for every venture

Living in His paths for His pleasure

He might send us into the unknown

But He doesn't send us on the journey alone

Having a Companion and Comforter

He is our wonderful Counselor

Not abandoning those He calls dear

Those having eyes to see and ears to hear

We might grow weary on this road's length

But this I know,

it's Your JOY

that gives us strength!

Though we pass through fire and river streams

It is only You who redeems.

So

Navigate us to not go astray

To Your gates

Filled with gladness on the way!

 

Call for prayer:


Please stand with us in prayer for Albert and Mel's son Joshua. Today is day 7 of Joshy, who's only three years old, being on a ventilator. He is in a public hospital in South Africa and in a critical condition. You can support them financially, here:https://www.gofundme.com/f/pfr8gu-joshuas-hospital-fund?qid=a19e5efd036c632241325ae3c8710901.


Please keep them in your prayers. If you would like updates on his health, please email me at zadoakmusic@gmail.com.


Let's also remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe, specifically Ukraine and Russia (as well as their neighbouring countries) who are in the midst of a war. For updates on the situation in and around Ukraine, you can follow Amir Tsarfati, here: https://www.youtube.com/user/beholdisrael


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