Compassion First

Patti Noyes, Parenting Instructor

What to write? 

When asked to write this article I thought, “Okay, how hard can it be?” Well, my brain has come up with a couple of thoughts but nothing that really seemed earth shattering. 

But think about it…life is generally not earth shattering.

I’ve been a pastor’s wife since 1972. Yes, I’m old. To say that life has been busy, complicated at times, sad, hard, but rewarding is a given. But to say because I’m a pastor’s wife it’s any easier to live a consistent Christian life would be a mistake. 

I’ve had it said to me, “It’s easier for you to be a Christian because people expect you to be spiritual.”  Sorry…but that’s not true. 

I struggle, as we all do, to share my faith, live consistently, keep my cool, etc. Just like you. Something the Lord has taught me is that He doesn’t want me to be “over-the-top”. He wants me to be real, honest, and vulnerable.  Of course, the Lord is working in my life and changing those areas that need changing. 

This summer we put our camper in a campground as a seasonal. That means we can go camping whenever we want. And yes, we do almost every week, even for just a couple of days. Very relaxing.

There are a couple of other Christians there that would like to see us change our site because the area we are in can be rather “rowdy”. We aren’t moving because we have already made some inroads into friendships with the neighboring campers. Yes, they know who we are, and they seem to have accepted us anyway. In order for us to share our faith we need to first be friendly and open. 

1 Peter 3:15-16 talks about living an example before others. Letting them see the truth but doing so in love and kindness. Colossians 3:12-13 talks about being a friend, showing kindness and love. This verse is referring to other Christians but can also refer to the unsaved. 

Yes, you can approach a complete stranger and bring up the gospel and have it received well. But in life we are more apt to share our faith with those who are constantly around us. The repair man, the mechanic, your favorite waitress, your neighbor, doctor, etc. Think about all those around you and how you interact with them. Are you thinking about them in light of sharing your faith and showing them God’s love?

Working at Branches has shown me that these women and men need our love and compassion first. Then we can share the gospel. They need to be comfortable enough to know that we will be honest and trustworthy with what we share with them. So, when we do share the gospel with them, they will be more apt to hear what we are saying. We need to show them that knowing Christ is as natural to our life as having breakfast. 

We can all be effective, vibrant, caring examples to those who need the Lord. We can also be a strong support for other believers who struggle, feel they aren’t making a difference, and just need “their arms raised” in support to make it through the battle. 

No matter where we’re at in life and faith, we just need to be real, honest, and vulnerable where we are and trust the Lord with the outcome.

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