Compassion Covers Criticism

March 4, 2019

 As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

 

I’ve lived in Colorado now for fourteen winters. A big reason my family moved here was to escape the sub-zero temperatures of Vermont’s winters. But this year, Colorado is confused. I picked a bad winter to have cancelled my gym membership.

 

Listening to a sermon about how judging others at the gym is common but destructive, I was reminded of a powerful locker room lesson I’ll never forget.

 

After taking an exercise class at my local gym, I quickly retreated to the locker room to shower and change for the rest of my busy day. I had places to go and people to see. Why was everyone else moving in slow motion?

 

A young woman was blow drying her long, brown hair, completely naked and swaying as if she were filming a movie. She seemed to be marveling at her slim, fit figure in the mirror, rotating to check out each angle and perfect curve. How conceited, I thought. I’ve never been that slim, fit, or had gorgeous thick hair in my life. Mine’s now turning gray. Not fair.

 

While I waited in line to take a shower, I overheard two friends chatting back and forth between their shower stalls. They planned their lunch downtown, discussed an upcoming event, and shared a new dinner recipe. C’mon ladies! I don’t have time to wait for this. Can’t you finish this up outside?  I felt a twinge of disappointment that I didn’t have a single friend at the gym to talk to. Not fair.

 

Finally, having showered, I went back to my locker, only to find a mother and daughter blocking my way. They saw me waiting, but stayed put and continued to bicker back and forth. The mother was obviously perturbed by the lack of space. Her daughter tried, unsuccessfully, to calm her mother’s nerves. Come on, take your drama somewhere else! My mom lives a thousand miles away. Not fair.

 

That’s it, I’d had enough. I didn’t have time for all these egocentric drama queens!

 

Right when I was about to tell the mother to MOVE OVER, she peeled off her wool hat. It was bald from chemotherapy. No wonder she was perturbed. She had every right to scream, “NOT FAIR!” I did not.

 

I hurriedly dressed and left the locker room before anyone could see me tearing up, partly out of sympathy for a family being ravaged by cancer, and partly out of my shame at being angered by such minor inconveniences.

 

Back at the car, I said out loud. God, I’m so sorry for complaining about my body. Thank you for making me strong enough to work out and exercise. I’m so sorry for judging those friends chatting in the shower. I do have wonderful friends. They just don’t go to this gym. And I’m so sorry for criticizing that mother and daughter. They must be so scared. Thank you my mother is healthy and so happy. I’m so sorry I acted like such a brat when you call me to live like Jesus every day. Thank you for reminding me that…

 

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

 

Please pray with me:

 

Lord God, 

Thank you for reminding me how you use every day challenges to mold me and change me. I confess, comparison and judgement come too quickly. Free me from this darkness and shine your bright light in me. Make me like Jesus, full of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience. Give me a humble heart to see others around me who are hurting. Help me also celebrate with others who are thriving. Slow me down so I can love others the way you do. Thank you for never giving up on me. 

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

The Power of Giving God Thanks Will Ignite Your Faith and Change Your World!

 

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