Without mercy, we become unforgiving of other’s mistakes, shortcomings and failures.
Without compassion, we become uncaring, unwilling and unmoved by the plight of others.
Without tenderness, we become hard, legalistic, hypocritical, demanding and difficult.
Without humility, we become full of pride, arrogant, egotistical and conceited.
Without love, we become self-centered, self-serving, self-promoting and selfish.
For many years, my life was devoid of mercy, compassion, tenderness, humility and love. During those years I was an esteemed ministry leader in charge of hundreds of people who looked up to me as an example of how to live. For many years I would teach others to be merciful and to walk with compassion and love. During those years, I was painfully aware that I was a hypocrite, for I was intolerant of other’s shortcomings, unmoved by their plight and too busy promoting myself to deal with their problems.
For many years, I was too conceited, aloof and selfish to get involved with people’s problems and issues. During those years, my heart became hard and I felt I was too important to sit and listen for hours as someone poured out their heart or upon seeing a need, to give the shirt off my back to help take care of it.
Woe unto me for squandering countless opportunities to honestly reach out and help people in distress. Woe unto me for wasting countless chances to manifest the tender love of God to the broken and hurt. Woe unto me for believing I was better than those whose lives were wrecked or wracked with pain. Woe unto me for not taking the time and having the love to reach out to those lost and alone. Woe unto me for not having enough love of God in my heart to do whatever it took to extend my hand and open my heart to someone broken apart by life’s storms.
I freely admit that once upon a time I was so blind I could not see how to really help someone and had allowed my heart to become hard, incapable of and unwilling to tenderly reach out to others with the love of God. It took a lot of heartache, soul searching and intense humility; but I can honestly say that I changed. For quite some time I have come to understand how the blessings of God in my life are not so much for me, but rather for me to give away to others. Long ago I came to realize how everything God has blessed me with by His grace is a gift that He wants me to give away to others.
God has poured out His mercy on me so that I can forgive others and not judge them. God has manifested great compassion toward me so that I can be moved by their plight. God has tenderly put up with me so that I can be patient with others. God has loved me with His love so that I can open my arms and heart to those who are as I once was, and who need someone to hold their hand and lead them out of their private hell into the glorious light of the love of God.
I was just thinking how great is His love for us. He refuses to let us just let us go off in our own headstrong direction. He will not force us to change but He will do whatever He can to get us to see ourselves for who we are and what we are doing. Painful? Absolutely... but it is often necessary. :(
As painful and horrible as those days were, they have made you who you are today. Is it worth it? Yes, I believe it is. The molding and firing process is not an easy one but the end result is what we must look at.
You have been matured in the faith back to being child-like in Him. :) God doesnt want men of the world who will tremble at His voice but little children who run to the throne with abandon.
I could say much the same. I would add however that we do not know ourselves. You say "but I can honestly say that I changed". I thought that myself until in an unguarded moment, I exploded and all the old vile poured out. I would recommend the teaching of Roy Hession.