One of the great joys that I have in my job is flexibility. This means that I get to drive my kids around to their stuff. I also get to take their friends with us. As a result, I am in on a lot of the conversations that they are having. They are hilarious! When I was a kid we used to “dare”, “double dare”, “double dog dare”, “triple dare”, and finally “triple dog dare.” Today’s boys simply look deep into one another’s souls and say, “Bruh, you aren’t even cut enough to…”

When someone tells you aren’t “cut enough” that’s dropping a serious “triple dog dare” on them. You either put your tail between your legs and admit defeat or you go for it.

In Colossians 3:12–17 Paul lays out who we as Christians are to be. Who we are is based in the reality that we are chosen, holy, and beloved. How amazing is that? I mean think about that for half of a second. Our identity is not shaped by rules, laws, or fear of punishment. Our identity is based in God’s love for us. That in and of itself is mind boggling.

The first attribute he calls us to is to put on “compassionate hearts.” What does that mean? That sounds pretty soft, especially for men. We often think of compassion as something that women have. Not many men would naturally look at themselves and say that they are seeking to be compassionate. So what exactly is a compassionate heart?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines compassion this way, “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

From the outset we are to be others centered. The Christian, in the core of who they are, is to be one who is conscious of another’s pain and desires to act. Compassion requires great strength. It is not something that is for the weak or soft. Compassion demands from us action to step into the brokenness of the world to bind up the wounded.

This little phrase that Paul uses, “compassionate hearts” is very purposeful by including the word “heart.” The heart is the center of our being. Who we are is changed by our relationship with Jesus. A compassionate heart, a state of being, that drives us to care for and alleviate suffering is our new normal. It isn’t “radical”, it is normal.

When you see suffering what is your response? Do you want to alleviate it? Do you care? Do you want to step into the brokenness of this world and set things right? These are all signs of a person with a compassionate heart.

If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, have you put on the compassionate heart?

Are you cut enough to be compassionate?

from The Subversive Journey