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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Are You Gracious or Grumpy?

Joyce Meyer - Are You Gracious or Grumpy?

Joyce Meyer - Are You Gracious or Grumpy?
TOPICS: Compassion
Joyce Meyer - Are You Gracious or Grumpy?

Well, welcome to "Enjoying Everyday Life". And you know something? God does want you to enjoy your everyday life. Not just when you're going on a vacation or you're getting to do something special, but just your everyday Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, normal everyday life. And you can do that, but only if you live according to the principles in God's word. And today's teaching is going to be really, I think, just a reminder of one of those principles that's very easy to forget. I'm calling today's teaching, "Are you gracious or grumpy"?

And everybody around here have been laughing and saying, "Well, it depends on, whether I've had my coffee yet or not". "It depends on what time of day it is". "It depends on what's going on". But actually, God wants us to learn how to be stable no matter what is going on. And "To be gracious" means "To be compassionate". And I wanna talk to you today about receiving God's compassion for you and about being compassionate toward other people. You know, God does not want us to be hard-hearted. He wants us to be tender-hearted.

So, "To be gracious" means "To be gentle". And I'm gonna start off with a little bit of honesty about me, I was raised in a very harsh household. And it has taken me a long time to learn how to be gentle. It's amazing how the way we're raised affects us and how long it takes us to get over some of the things that we learn. I always say, "Sometimes you have to unlearn the wrong thing before you can learn the right thing". So, when is the last time you heard a sermon on gentleness or compassion? Isaiah 42:3: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice".

Now, you know, it's very possible to read a lot of these scriptures and never really pay any attention to them because what is a bruised reed, what is a smoldering wick, and what in the world is he talking about? Well, a bruised reed in ancient times, reeds were sometimes used for musical instruments, but when the reed became soft or cracked, it became worthless and was tossed aside. So, this is actually being applied to us. Like, if you were a bruised reed, Jesus would not just toss you aside and throw you away. He is into healing and restoration. And I want you to realize today that no matter what you have done, no matter how bad you may think it is, God is willing to be compassionate toward you, gentle and forgiving, and he will restore you, but you have to be willing to receive that.

And a lot of us punish ourselves for things that God has already forgiven us for. We need to learn how to receive the things that Jesus died on the cross to give us. And he died there, yes, so our sins could be forgiven and we could spend eternity with God. But he also died for other things, and we need to learn how to receive those things. A smoldering wick refers to when a candle burns all the way down, the wick begins to smolder and is no longer of any value. But like the bruised reed or the smoldering wick, broken people are often cast aside, but not by Jesus. People may cast us aside, but Jesus does not. "To be gracious" means "To be compassionate". And I want you to hang onto that word because we're gonna talk about compassion a lot today, "Compassionate, merciful, and gentle".

Compassion is a term that's related to gentleness. Not just gentleness in how we talk, but gentleness really in our attitude toward people and their faults and their flaws and their sins. Everybody has something that's not right about them. Every single one of us have faults and flaws. And we really have a bad habit of getting into judging one another, "Well, you this, and you that, and you don't, and you should, and you shouldn't". But we do it without remembering that we also have weaknesses. We judge people in the areas where we're strong, but we forget about the areas where we're weak. I know I have weaknesses. And man, if you're somebody who doesn't have any, then I hope you'll pray for me. But I think we all have weaknesses of some kind. If we didn't have, we wouldn't need Jesus.

As a noun, the difference between compassion and gentleness is that compassion, I want you to hear this 'cause this is important. Compassion is a deep awareness of the suffering of another person coupled with a desire to relieve it. It's deep awareness of somebody else's suffering, but also, a desire to do something about it. While gentleness is just the state of being gentle. Now, the interesting thing I find, and I've got four scriptures here I'm gonna read to you, compassion moves us to do something about a person's problem. It's not just feeling sorry for them. "Well, I really feel for you," or "Man, I feel sorry for that person," but it's, "What can I do about this to help the person"?

And boy, that is really what we need in the body of Christ. We need people that are willing to help one another and who will actually think, "Okay, I heard about this person's problem. God, is there anything I can do to help them"? Well, one thing we can always do is pray. So, if there's nothing else that you can think of that you can do on a practical level, prayer is really important. Prayer is really powerful. And we should always pray for people when we hear that they have a problem. Don't ever think that your prayers don't make any difference because I was talking to somebody this morning and I said, "Every day that I live, I am more and more amazed by the power of prayer".

So, I wanna just encourage you today to pray about as many things as you can. And you don't have to wait until you pray. You can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything. And I think we should pray right away when we hear about something. Mark 1:41: "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, 'i will: be thou clean'". Now, this was a leper who had come to Jesus and said, "If you can, will you heal me"? Well, of course, Jesus could. And so, he said, "I will: be thou clean". Jesus didn't just say, "Man, I feel sorry for you that you're a leper". He was moved with compassion to do something about it.

Matthew 14:14. "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick". Matthew 15:32: "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him and said, 'i have compassion on this multitude, because they continue to be with me now three days, and have had nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint along their way'". You know, it's interesting. Jesus was always thinking about the condition of people. They'd been listening to him teach for three days and he said, "I'm not gonna send them away on a journey to go all the way home since they haven't had food. So, we're gonna do something about it, so they don't have a problem later on".

Matthew 20:34: last one, "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him". Now, I really want you to think about the difference in feeling sorry for somebody and having compassion on them. And I don't know, maybe this is something you'd never thought of. I know I hadn't when God first started showing me this. It doesn't cost you anything to feel sorry for somebody. That's very easy to do, "I feel sorry for you". But if you're moved with compassion to do something, that's gonna cost you some time, some effort, some money, something. And we are selfish. That's one of the biggest problems in our world is selfishness and self-centeredness. And in our western society, it is even more of a problem than it is in some other places. And I might even say, especially today, it seems like people are more and more wrapped up in themselves.

Now, as Christians, we're in the world, but we're not supposed to be like it. Now, remember that. You're in the world, but Jesus said, "Not of the world". That means we're not supposed to be like the world. "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind". This book right here, "The Bible," is full of God's will for our life. And it's full of things that we should do and things that we should not do. And selfish people just wanna do what they wanna do. But you know, just because I wanna do something doesn't mean it's gonna be good for me to do it. And the thing I want you to realize about the Word of God is that everything that God asks you to do or not to do, it's not really for him, it's for us. I'm gonna have my best life and you're gonna have your best life if we do things the way God tells us to do them.

So, he's telling us that to be compassionate is a good thing. It's gonna help me if I'm compassionate. I'm gonna feel better about my life if I'm compassionate. When you see hurting people, or you see somebody in need, are you moved with compassion? Or do you just say, "I really feel for you"? Feeling sorry for people doesn't cost us anything, but helping people does. Psalm 116:5-7: "The Lord is gracious and righteous: our God is full of compassion". Well, I don't know about you, but I am so glad today that I serve a God that is compassionate. He's not legalistic, he's not harsh and hardhearted. But when I make mistakes, he's understanding, he's long suffering, slow to anger, and moved with compassion.

And I just have a feeling, I thought about this before I started even teaching today, I'm sure there are people today watching that you've done some things in your life that were really bad things that you just wish you wouldn't have done, but you can't go back now and undo them. But you can receive God's compassion. You know, there's a story in the Bible about a guy that we call the "Prodigal son". And it's about a wealthy man who had two sons, and the inheritance that he was gonna leave would have been split between these two sons. There was the older brother and the younger brother. Well, the younger brother came to his father and said, "I want my inheritance now". Well, in that culture, that was like a really bad thing, because it was equivalent to saying, "I wish you were dead".

Now, you know, our children know they're gonna get whatever we have when Jesus takes us home, but I sure wouldn't want 'em to come now and say, "I wish you were dead so I could have whatever you're gonna leave me". And that was actually, basically, how they came across to his father. But his father gave him his portion of the inheritance and he went away, and he wasted it on loose and reckless living. He ended up wasting all the money. His life got so bad that he ended up working for a pig farmer. And the only thing he had to eat was the same thing that the pigs were eating. Well, I love the way the Bible says it, it says, "And he came to himself," or, he came to his right mind. And, you know, sometimes the way we live, we act like we're out of our mind, or like we've lost our mind.

And he came to himself, he came to his right mind, and he said, "I know what I'm gonna do. I am gonna go back to my father, and I'm gonna tell him, 'father, I have sinned. I've disrespected you. I've done what was not right. Is there any way that I can come back home? Can you possibly forgive me'"? Well, interestingly enough, his father saw him when he was still a long way off and he was running toward him. Well, in those days, older men did not run: it was considered disrespectful. But he was so joyous to see his son that he forgot about everything except just gettin' to his boy. And you know what? That's the way God feels about you, today, and every single day. And he received his son with open arms. He threw a big party for him. He gave him a special robe. He gave him a special ring.

It was a wonderful reunion. And you know what? I want you to know today that no matter how far away from God you might be, he is running toward you with open arms and maybe using my mouth, right now, to tell you, "Come home. You're welcome to come home". And whether you just did something wrong yesterday and you're feeling bad about it today, or whether you're somebody that accidentally turned this program on and you are far, far away from God, let me tell you something, you don't have to try to make the distance to get back to him. He is running toward you. God loves you and he loves you with a perfect love. And he understands you. And I love that about God.

In Hebrews 4:15 and 16, it says, "We have a high priest who understands our weaknesses and our infirmities because he's been tempted in all points just like we have, yet without sinning". I don't know about you, but as a woman, it always means a lot to me if I go to Dave and I'm talking to him about something that's really bothering me, and he says, "I understand". God understands you. There's people that need to hear that today. God understands you and he has compassion on you. He's moved with compassion to help you. He wants to bring restoration into your life. And there's nothing you have done that's so bad that it can keep you separated from the love of God. My, my.

"The Lord is gracious and righteous: our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary: when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you". The word "Unwary" means "Not aware of possible dangers, thoughtless, unthinking, and simple-minded". He protects those who just weren't paying attention and got themselves into trouble, and now they're coming to him, and he's more than ready to help you. Well, one of our favorite scriptures, one I go too often, and I hope you do too, if you're familiar with the Bible, is Matthew 11:28-30. "Come unto me, all you", get that, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest".

You know, that could be three-fourths of our viewing audience today. I mean, the world we live in today, it's easy to get stressed out and overburdened, and feel like you just can't take anymore, and you can't go on. It might not even be with sin: it might just be with your life. And he says, "[i will ease and relieve and refresh your souls]". Wow, I don't know about you, but I can use some of that almost every day. "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me". Now, here it comes. "For I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls".

Now, you know, I could just do a whole series on just that scripture, but I won't. "My yoke is wholesome (useful, good, it's not harsh, hard, sharp, and pressing.)" God is not a harsh, hard God. He is compassionate, full of mercy, slow to anger, and always full of love. Well, you know, in our world today, gentle, gracious, compassionate, and merciful is not how I would describe it. And you know, many leaders, many people in leadership, whether it's church leadership or leadership in business, they're hard-driven type a, choleric personalities, and they have a goal in mind, and sometimes they can kind of walk all over other people trying to reach their goal.

And I have to admit that 45 years ago when I first started in ministry, I was like that. And I really feel sorry and feel bad about anybody that I hurt, and I know that I did hurt some people. I just was so full of my vision and what I felt like God wanted me to do that I probably just was not always as nice as I should have been to people. And if you're watching, and you're one of the people I wasn't so nice to, I'm so sorry. If you knew me now, I'm a different person. You know what changes us? I experienced God's compassion toward me and that has softened my heart and made me compassionate toward other people. I have experienced his patience with me, and it has helped me to be more patient with other people, although I admit that's an area where I'm still growing.

Paul said, "An overseer must be gentle". 1 Timothy 3:1-3, "Here's a trustworthy saying: 'whoever aspires to be an overseer'", or a leader, "'desires a noble task'". It's a good thing. "'now the overseer'", the leader, "'is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife'", or husband, "'temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money'". You know, there are qualifications for leadership. And my concern is, today, in the church, many people are put in a position of leadership because they're talented, but they're not spiritually mature. And the Bible actually says, "Do not put a new convert in leadership lest he become stupefied with pride and end up hurting people".

Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: "But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children". So many beautiful scriptures. Now, how about this? We're to be gentle with those that are found to be in sin. Are you critical and judgmental? Or are you compassionate toward other people who are in sin? Have you been gossiping about somebody or judging them critically? You know, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13, which is a love chapter, that we are to always believe the best of every person. And God has given me the grace, in the last two or three years, to be able to do that. And I'll tell you, it has helped me so much. I am so much happier and I have so much stress relieved from me when I believe the best about people. And it is my choice.

You say, "Well, Joyce, what if you believe the best and they did have ill-intent in mind"? Well, you know what? Even if they did, that's between them and God. I'm happy when I believe the best. And I wanna be happy. I've spent too much of my life being unhappy. What about you? Are you somebody that needs to be happier and more content than what you are? Well, if you are, then today's teaching, if you apply it, should really help you. "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the spirit]", and that's what it means "To be spiritual". It doesn't mean you have a lot of Bibles and you've underlined 'em all, and you go to church every week. It means that "You are controlled by the Holy Spirit". "You should set him right and restore and reinstate him", oh, we like that, "Set him right, that's right". No, listen. "Without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you also be tempted".

Wow. You know, as an authority here, at the ministry, there have been many times when I've needed to correct people. And I love to start out with things they're doing right. And I like to also share with people some things that I've done wrong in the past. Then bring the correction in. And if you season it with a little sugar, it's much easier to swallow. You know, correction is not easy because we all have a little bit of pride and we want people to think well of us, not bad. So, when you have to correct people, even if you're children, you know, I found it was very effective with my children to admit to them my mistakes. Be gentle with people, be compassionate, be loving.
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