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Compassion

Compassion
By Grant Phillips

Compassion is a word full of feeling and a drive for action. Take the following Scripture passage for example.

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

These few verses remind me of what Jesus said through the apostle John.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Jesus is the epitome of “walking the talk.” He didn’t just say it; He felt it and then did something about it.

It never ceases to touch my heart that Jesus took our sins upon Himself through much suffering … suffering more intense than you and I could ever imagine. He set aside for a while His royal robe of Heaven and clothed Himself in the rags of humanity. Upon the cross all of our filthy sins were laid upon Him who never sinned. And if the physical pain were not enough, something happened that had never happened before in eternity past. He was separated from God the Father because of my sins and yours. He didn’t have to do that, but He had compassion on us.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

When I consider my compassion level I certainly fall short. How about you? Yes, we all fall short, but we can grow in that area as we continue to let Jesus live in us instead of living for ourselves.

It’s easy to have compassion for our own family members, but what about those in the crowds of the world, especially those who don’t reciprocate in kind? Can we pray for that jerk on the job that makes our life miserable? Can we have compassion on that idiot that just cut us off in traffic, praying they get to their destination safely? Can we put feet to our prayers for that family we know needs help?

I think of the leper that came to Jesus hoping to be healed. What a lonely, miserable life he must have had. He couldn’t be around anyone, not even his own family. He could never touch his wife again or hold his dear child in his lap. People would run if he came within sight. Covid-19 has caused many folks to know his loneliness. What did Jesus do? Yes, I know He healed him, but what did He do first of all? He reached out and TOUCHED HIM. Can you imagine how the leper felt, feeling a human touch once again? Jesus had compassion on Him.

Some day when our old sin nature is permanently removed (only those who belong to Christ), our compassion level will be like the Lord’s because we will be perfectly clothed in His righteousness and not our own self-righteousness. That is a day I long for, and I know you do as well.

In the meantime, there is a field ripe unto harvest that needs laborers. We can share the compassion of the God we serve, the Lord Jesus Christ, by doing our part in whatever He has called us to do on His behalf.

As Christians, we all are part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) and He assigns each of us a special responsibility. Whether we’re a foot, a hand, or an elbow, etc., He is the head and guides our steps. Whatever we do for Him, He wants us to show the same compassion that He shows for others.

Will you and I fail at times, or even often? You betcha! The question is, “Are we trying?” When you teach your child to make their bed, are they going to make that bed as perfectly as you would do? Of course not, but they will get better as time goes on. (If your child isn’t making their own bed, you’re already behind.) Quite often you and I will color outside the lines, but God has compassion. He is patient.

I don’t feel that true compassion is something that can be manufactured by our own efforts, but you say, “Even non-Christians show compassion,” and that is true. However, the compassion that comes from Christ and flows through us looks upon the soul and not just the outer person. Our compassion may lead someone to Jesus, saving them from the fires of hell.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude (1:20-23)

One last thing … maybe you need to experience the compassion of Jesus. You’ve been beaten down by family, friends, sicknesses, addictions or just life in general. Jesus cares. If you will come to Him, He will already be there waiting for you.

What is your greatest need? Do you recognize that you are a sinner (as we all are) and you have never asked Him to save you? Then this is your greatest need, above and beyond anything else in your life. Come to Him now and He will save you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

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