It seems I can’t get away from the topic of compassion. It is everywhere I look. I believe God is trying to tell me something.
How is compassion defined?
Merriam Webster: compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
Dictonary.com: compassion: deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
Not to toot my own horn, but I do have compassion for those in need and the sick. I feel their distress. I feel their pain. I want to help. I honestly desire to see them well and happy.
Jesus calls us to have compassion for one another.
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV): Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
I have met the definition of compassion as listed above, so I am good, right? WRONG!
1 John 3:17-18 (NIV): If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
James 2:14-17 (NIV): 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Luke 10:30-35 (NIV): 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e]and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Over and over again we see Jesus MOVED by compassion (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32-38, 20:34, Luke 7:12-15-just to name a few).
Compassion is not just an emotion; it is an emotion that leads to or causes action. It is not enough to want or desire to help; we must act on those desires to help.
I believe Jesus’ compassion came for His love and His understanding of His people. We can’t possibly truly know others’ suffering if we don’t understand it. I feel God is preparing me to live amongst those I will minister so that I am able to show them how to live out God’s truths in their environment and under their circumstances. [Now, I don’t know when this is to happen, but I understand this pull now that I have a better understanding of compassion.]
Now, I understand this type of ministry is not possible all the time; however, I think the very least we could do would be to follow the example in Nehemiah 1:4:
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Sometimes the words “I’ll pray for you” are thrown out haphazardly. We don’t mean any harm or disrespect, but more often than not we do not follow through. We must take praying for others seriously. God can move mountains, all we have to do is ask and believe. Fasting is done little in churches anymore, and I think we should make it more common place again. Fasting not only lets God know we are serious, but it is a constant reminder for ourselves as well.
I truly believe that just like faith without action is dead, compassion without action is useless. Thank you God and Pastor Cathy McCoy for this reminder.
Lord, I come today asking not only compassion for others, but the strength, willingness, and abilities to help where help is needed. Do not let me turn a blind eye to those in need and help me to see which ones I can help or reach.
How are you going to show compassion today?
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,