Motivation: Compassion

Compassion-Logo

image courtesy of Schulstiftung (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mercy: the crown jewel of the motivational gifts. Why are they the crown jewel of the gifts? Because the mercy is wired to the heart of God, not the mind of God (as the other six gifts are). Mercies are often caught up in the battle of pleasing God or pleasing man because they are so compassionate that they do not want to hurt people by making decisions or confronting sin. However, they are predisposed to worship and can connect with God immediately without hesitation (I love to watch this happen with my mercy friends!). Mercy gifts are a safe place for wounded people and they can often sense who is wounded and hurting in a group of people. Mercy gifts are often attracted to prophets because prophets are bold and fearless, and prophets desperately need the softening influence of the mercy gift (I am always surrounded by mercy gifts!).

You may not be wired like them, but here are a few ways you can connect with a mercy gift:

  • Give your mercy friends time to process. This is probably the most important present you can give to your mercy friends. They will not process things at the same rate that you do. The mercy gift requires even more time to process than the teacher because mercies are processing everything through their emotions. You may not understand this, but you should respect it. Your mercy friend may come up to you three months later and say, “Remember when you said…well, you were right.” If this happens, simply remember that they were processing that the entire time!
  • Give your mercy friends appropriate physical contact. More than any other gift, the mercy craves intimacy—not just soul contact, but physical contact in the form of hugs and touch. The apostle John was a great example of a mercy gift—he not only referred to himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved” but he also needed physical contact with him (he laid on Jesus’ breast during the Last Supper). Please be careful and notice that I said APPROPRIATE physical contact! Please do not allow yourself to become attached to a mercy gift based on physical contact; their need for physical contact can too often lead to inappropriate behavior, especially interactions between the opposite sex. Help your mercy friends to receive their physical contact in holy, God-honoring ways.
  • Give your mercy friends a push towards excellence. In their battle between pleasing God and pleasing man, mercies may get wrapped up in the emotions of others instead of the Lord. I have experienced this in churches where there is a mercy pastor who often wraps himself in loyalty and takes up offenses for his family. Pleasing man instead of God can mire the mercy gift in mediocrity. Help them get wrapped up in the Lord like John did in Revelation: it will help them to deliver hard messages with compassion while staying faithful to God’s will for them!

The beauty of the mercy gift—of all the gifts—is found in their differences. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and the mercy is living proof of that.

What are some other ways you can encourage mercy gifts to walk in the beauty of their gifting?

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