“This passage of exquisite tenderness [Mt. 9:36, below] offers a remarkable glimpse into the human soul of Jesus. It tells how He feels about human beings. It reveals His way of looking out on the world, His nonjudgmental attitude toward people who were looking for love in wrong places and seeking happiness in wrong pursuits.” Brennan Manning
“When he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them
because they were harassed and dejected,
like sheep without a shepherd.”
“… whenever I allow anything but tenderness and compassion to dictate my response to life–be it self-righteous anger, moralizing, defensiveness, the pressing need to change others, carping criticism, frustration at others’ blindness, a sense of spiritual superiority, a gnawing hunger of vindication–I am alienated from my true self. My identity as Abba’s child becomes ambiguous, tentative, and confused.” Brennan Manning
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- When you look upon a crowd – at the mall, a concert, the DMV, a school-board meeting, a block party, a football game, on a city street or in a church service – do you do so with “exquisite tenderness?” If not, what happens instead? Why does that happen?
- Is your “response to life” often “self-righteous anger, moralizing, defensiveness, the pressing need to change others, carping criticism, frustration at others’ blindness, a sense of spiritual superiority, [and/or] a gnawing hunger of vindication?”
- How can you train yourself to allow “tenderness and compassion to dictate your response to life?”
Abba, thank you for the example of your son. May his love for me, and my love for him, inform my response to life. Help me practice exquisite tenderness.
For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
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