One night, as my husband was relaxing on the couch, my frustrated mutterings about the computer disturbed his tranquility. He spoke up and I decided to put the computer away. I surrendered my frustration and disappointment to the Lord and started humming praise songs. Tom, however, was having difficulty forgiving me, and I felt hurt by his lack of compassion for my feelings.
The Lord helped us to get over ourselves by sending an emergency phone call. After we had responded and helped some people out, our good moods were restored.
In my quiet time the next morning, the Lord gave me some insights. As always, He helps me to understand the other person’s perspective by helping me walk in their shoes. Both my husband and I could have been more sensitive.
I thought of times when I have been annoyed by someone else’s complaints. When I’m lacking compassion, I may just be trying to cheer them up so that they’ll quit ruining my day. On the other hand, when God’s love is flowing through me, I will feel their pain and listen compassionately and pray for them.
I would have appreciated my husband offering to pray for me in my time of frustration, instead of getting annoyed with me. But when I remembered times I’ve failed to be compassionate, it was easier to understand and forgive.
So, I jotted down these reminders, and now I’m praying God will keep helping me to apply them!
- When I’m the one experiencing a negative emotion, STOP what I’m doing and PRAY for help with my feelings. Perhaps even ask another person to pray for me.
- When the other person is the one with the negative emotions, first pray for myself to be filled with compassion for them, and then listen compassionately and pray for them. Also ask God to show me what I can do to help them.
As always, self-focused self-pity is destructive. When we’re other-focused, it’s amazing how much happier we are!