I didn’t know of to start this post.
I didn’t have a good story or clever intro. I realize that you’re probably thinking “that’s different than most days how?”
It all just felt forced and contrived. So I’ll be blunt.
The life of compassion is one without rights.
That’s not a little thing.
That’s a gigantic, massive, life shaking thing.
I think for those of us who have grown up in the West is hard to understand the idea of a life without rights. We have a right to everything. And if we don’t have a right we’ll fight to get it.
Our culture, the church included, has taught us a lot about all the rights we have.
We have a right to happiness.
We have a right to be heard.
We have a right to have stuff and to get to keep our stuff.
We have a right to comfort.
We have a right to not be offended.
We have a right to justice.
But we’re called to give them up. It’s not that they are bad or that we shouldn’t strive to create a society where everyone has these rights. We should. We should strive for equality.
It’s just that these rights are not for us keep. We give them up, freely.
Yes we have a right to happiness, but we give it up to put others first.
Yes we have a right to be heard, but we give it up so others are heard and valued and seen.
Yes we have a right to have stuff and to get to keep our stuff, but we give up our claim to generously bless others freely with all we have.
Yes we have a right to comfort, but we give it up to create spaces comfortable for others where they can be and express who they are, free of judgment.
Yes we have a right to not be offended, but we give it up so others can share their hearts and their pain.
Yes we have a right to justice, but we give it up to seek restoration and wholeness.
This isn’t hyperbole, this is the hard reality of the life of compassion. Everyone comes before us. Sure there will be times when we give up our right to happiness and in putting others first find a fulfillment and happiness that deeper and truer.
Then there will be times we just get yelled at because of the pain Christians and the church have caused. We don’t get to offer reasons or take offence. We gave up that right. We will be wronged so many times and we keep responding with grace.
It’s not fun, it hurts. Sometimes it scars. But we keep responding with grace.
Other centred living costs.
But I see the value in that cost. I see what my sacrifice can and will do in the lives of my friends, family, community and my own. I think it’s worth it. I hurts, but it’s worth it.