What does it mean to have bowels of mercy and compassion

Gut Check

Posted by danieljkoren on January 25, 2012 in Devotional |

A friend of the family went in for surgery on her colon. The woman’s bowels were so impacted that when they cut her open, her intestines exploded all over the room. She died on the operating table.

Paul told some people who struggled with love, “ye are straitened in your own bowels” (II Corinthians 6:12, KJV). Having a hard time loving people is an indication of spiritual constipation. People who snap under pressure are often retaining way too much unforgiveness, guilt, fear, and distrust.

Are you spiritually constipated? Indications are argumentativeness, nagging, hostility, and blaming. Your prayer life might be cold. You cannot see the good in situations. You cannot feel God or sympathize with others. Many such conditions indicate a deeper problem.

God’s people need “bowels of mercies,…

kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering

so we will be

forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:12-13).

Impacted compassion

Recently, I discovered I had some spiritual blockage. I had wondered why my prayer time had grown so sluggish. While communicating with someone, God revealed I was holding feelings against that person. I broke down and wept. I was not praying, at first, but just shaking and sobbing uncontrollably.

If you had seen the two of us together before this, you would never know I had a problem against this person. I did not know. But when I tried to show love to this individual, I discovered my bowels of compassion could not move. After more than an hour of weeping and repenting, I felt cleansed. My whole day was different. While that person and I still share extreme differences and worldviews, I am no longer holding onto the junk I had inside.

If you do not love people as you should, you need a spiritual purge. I am not saying it should be an overnight deal. Colon cleanses usually take 30 days to help a person restore healthy innards. To keep from getting an intestinal backup again, we need lots of fiber and water.

Bulky fiber

You need to eat a lot of green vegetables to keep your body alive and your intestines scrubbed clean. Even though you cannot digest cellulose, you need it to push out all the unusable waste in your digestive tract. You have to consume a lot of pulp spiritually as well—many pages from God’s Word.

Do you read multiple chapters of the word of God everyday? If not, I am sure you are getting blocked up and probably haven’t even noticed how insensitive and retentive you are becoming.

Do you memorize new Bible verses every week? You need something to chew on to help stimulate spiritual digestive juices. Even if the verse you are working on today does not come into use in a crisis, it keeps your system in good working order.

Do you share the word of God with others? You have not begun to live until you start teaching others about Jesus. You do not even love people if you do not share truth with them. You have mistaken pity for love.

Lots of liquids

Your alimentary canal will not function properly unless you drink close to a half gallon of water everyday. What are you drinking spiritually? Jesus said the Spirit flows inside true believers like a river of living water. Are you a holy hydrant, or a constipated Christian?

Pray everyday until you are flushed with gallons of glory. If your prayer life does not move you to tears often, you are becoming impacted. Your love will not flow without repentance and worship. You can be nice without feeling it. You can give without caring. But you cannot truly live without love.

Spiritual dehydration (lack of a Spirit-filling) will kill your faith. You will resort to the lowest common denominator, doing what is necessary to get through life, but not experiencing the joy of your faith.

If your intestines are blocked up, you will not digest food properly. You will not get rid of wastes correctly and retaining them will rot out your insides with cancer and other diseases. Spiritually, if your bowels of compassion are blocked, you will not receive God’s Word like you should. Other attitudes and spiritual issues will hang on forever until you get cleansed. Flush out your system with repentant prayer, tearful forgiveness, and letting go of the past.

Healthy activity

A sedentary lifestyle (read: laziness) will not keep your gut moving properly. If you sit around a lot, your weak intestinal muscles may not be able to push through all the potato chips and popcorn you are putting in. Get in action and you might just lose some weight with a few bowel movements.

Spiritually, you have to get in action with others. If you are holding feelings against someone, get it right. Paul dealt with a church that had this issue toward him and his ministry team:

Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

(II Corinthians 6:12-13)

The people in Corinth were plugged up. Their love was not flowing toward their pastor and founder. The apostle Paul wrote them and let them know that their retentive behavior was not because of him, but because of them. Their bowels were impacted with hurt feelings, bitterness, and gossip gone wrong. They needed a spiritual bowel movement to get free of their rotting, festering spiritual garbage.

Have you ever been offended at a brother or sister in the Lord, family member, or spiritual leader? Such things plug up your emotions. You find it hard to pray. Unforgiveness prevents your bowels of compassion from moving. You may even see people hurt or in need and not even care. If you have quit feeling for others or cannot get yourself to care anymore, you need a spiritual laxative. You need something to clean you out so you can process life again.


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