is compassion part of your online life?

The accounts of God’s unfailing love and compassion for people abound in Scripture.

Indescribable love moved God’s holy hand to provide a Savior to bridge the gap between life and death for all humankind.

As you daily draw near to God and experience His compassion, your response is to give to others what you’ve been given and share what you’ve been shown. It’s that simple.

“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”

Matthew 9:36, NIV

Communication is the most important skill in life, but at the core of great communication, funny as it seems, is listening.

Building real relationships online requires not that you be understood but that you understand the context of the people who interact with you. If you hear the hearts of others, you’ll be ready to lavish them with God-sized compassion. Begin to genuinely build relationship, connect, and care in His strength.

An action plan for extending compassion online:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in exactly how to respond to others online. Does this situation require you to take an extra, more personal step.
  • Own and respond to the prayer requests you see. Let someone know when you pray for him or her.
  • Be empathetic to others’ suffering, grief, or fears, even if you can’t relate personally. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
  • Keep a prayer journal on hand to keep track of who you are praying for online, their requests and their names. Be sure to follow up. A number of free online prayer journals also exist. Just Google “online prayer journal,” and take your pick.
  • Listen and be willing to go deeper into others’ lives; ask them questions to prompt meaningful sharing. Use open-ended questions, the ones that start with “What” or “How.” Say to others, “Tell me more.”
  • Let people know when you can personally relate to their storm and how you made it to the other side.

Expand the list, what else can you do to extend compassion online?

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  • Kim Cash Tate

    This post so speaks to me, especially since God has been hammering, “put on a heart of compassion…” on my heart for a long while. My heart is burdened especially this week since I’ve come from a college reunion. I had a great time of laughter and sharing, but I also saw how many still do not truly know Jesus. Thankfully, through Facebook, they already know the new “me” (I wasn’t a believer in college), and many have joined my FB ministry group, etc. I want to extend the interaction more. Just by writing on a wall or commenting on a photo can set us apart by showing we care. I also like to send messages to the inbox to “go deeper” with people.

    Thank you for this post and all the others. You keep me ever conscious of my mission online. You are a daily iron sharpener! Love you!

  • Tami Heim

    He takes the little things and makes them GREAT. We are excited about how you are using FB to reach out to your friends – Shine ON friend – SHINE ON! #AllForHim

  • Debbie

    This was timely.Someone from my teen years posted some really hateful stuff about a politician on fb. Regardless of one’s political persuasion, the stuff was really disturbing coming from one who claims to be a follower of Christ. I’m not even from the U.S. but I was really affected by the post and feel I must respond but…how to do this???Well, I will take your advice and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide and give the words (if He wants me to comment). As well, your post reminded me to pray for the one who made the comments. Perhaps simply praying that God will reveal to her the way in which her words reflect on Him and that they are not words just about some vague someone — but a very real person that Jesus does love — is all God wants from me. I will listen carefully…

  • http://www.deepbreathministries.com/ Colleen Foshee

    Don’t get angry when people respond negatively toward you online. It’s so much easier than earth time responding. You get a chance to stop, pray, listen, and respond in love. God has given us an incredible opportunity to practice Kingdom things we want to put into place in our lives but have a hard time doing when we’re physically around difficult people. It’s one of the (few) bonuses of not being face to face.

  • Gabriel @G2Twenty

    I think the first bullet point is most important. Nice post.

  • Toni

    Debbie – I think you are onto something in praying and letting the Spirit interceed for you. Pray for your friend. Pray that God gives you additional insight into his/her life. I’d listen to her other posts to get a full view of her thinking and then reach out and find some common ground. People only listen when they know you are genuinely engaged and that you care. Living online will break your heart – especially when you see other Christians slandering or tearing down an idea, a person, or a public figure. At the right moment, God will give you incredible wisdom – maybe in an unrelated post – that will turn that person’s ear and heart toward truth. It’s a process and every post/connection of compassion matters. Praying with you – especially today, election day!

  • Toni

    I’m linking arms/hearts with you on that Colleen. There’s more power in one hour of prayer than in all the armies in the world. We’re armed and dangerous online when we are wrapped in God’s truth and REALLY committed to praying for people around the world . . . I repeat, really committed. :)

  • Toni

    Thanks Gabriel — the Holy Spirit is always the most powerful launching pad. Thanks for stopping by! #LiveSticky!

  • Toni

    He makes all things new . . . and when He does that it spills out onto every path we’ve ever walked, into every life we’ve ever known. That’s His plan. I love that God allows us to go back in time and speak hope into lives He ordained from the start–and sooo much more with Facebook. Exciting, amazing stuff to be part of Kim! You are right, through ONE compassionate comment or act, He profoundly and eternally draws hearts to Him (we see this all through scripture). Keep reaching out — He’s in every word & connection!

  • http://twitter.com/SandraHeskaKing SandraHeskaKing

    There are so many needs. So many that hurt. Even those who seem to have it all together. We have to remember that we can’t meet every need in our time lines and that we need to come apart for our own filling. Compassion involves action, and there are times I want to say something to someone or do something, but I don’t know what. Maybe I’m not supposed to. But I can always send a quick prayer toward heaven.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I love this post, Tami! Self-righteousness quenches compassion but compassion releases the love of God. This is a great list. I especially like “Listen and be willing to go deeper into other’s lives”. Getting beyond surface relationships is so key!

  • Tami Heim

    Thanks Tony. If we show up with a willing heart – we can go deep and make a real connection to people. The very act of listening says, “I care about you, first.’ It is easy to miss the weight of this in the daily rush and when we do – we also miss a His holy release. I will be looking for you in the deep end, friend.

  • Tami Heim

    Oh Sandy – I know – sometimes it can be overwhelming. When I feel that way, I simply whisper the name of the person or the need before the throne – knowing that God fully sees and understands the whole story. Other times – the burden falls for something and I know more is required of me. We need to keep our hearts open to what we see and trust He will guide us regarding that ‘next step.’ He is faithful!

  • Tami Heim

    What a great word about anger Colleen. It’s the soft answer that turns away wrath. That moment of prayer BEFORE responding can change everything. EVERYTHING. I pray we consistently find wisdom and the strength to respond in love. (online AND IRL)

  • http://twitter.com/heartcures Melinda Lancaster

    Hi T & T:
    I loved this post, too. And the comments of the readers. Such good stuff. Practical yet powerful.
    One of the things that I do is refer people to others who might be more equipped to help with certain things. That’s quite often, actually. There are all kinds of great resources right in my daily stream.
    Whether it be a Christian counselor, life coach, gifted coach, etc. or a online community or informational forum. When possible I try to connect people to other people who
    they might not know about who can also offer compassion and love.