What is compassion? According to Merriam-Webster, it is sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Compassion is different from feeling empathy. Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and relating to their feelings of pain and distress. Compassion is feeling empathy BUT acting on those feelings by trying to resolve or alleviate the suffering.
We frequently hear of earlier times where communities would do everything together. Today people are more focused on communication than connection. We have many platforms to communicate with others but do not always make an effort or take time to get involved in people’s lives to serve and help them. We can become so consumed with our own needs, challenges, and problems, that we forget our neighbor beside us. Where has our compassion gone?
Jesus constantly felt compassion for others. He would ‘inconvenience’ Himself to help, feed, teach, heal or spend time with people from all walks of life because of His compassion. His compassion sprouted out of His love for people. He is the ultimate example of love expressed to others. He also encouraged us to love God and people as the most important commandments given by God.
“Jesus answered, “The first and most important one is: ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (life), AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND (thought, understanding), AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ This is the second: ‘YOU SHALL [unselfishly] LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 AMP
“For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is fulfilled in one precept, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit].”
Galatians 5:14 AMP
“If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well.”
James 2:8 AMP
When we demonstrate love for others, we obey God. The Amplified translation explains that such love is an unselfish concern that you demonstrate in actions. Furthermore, faith in Christ must be accompanied by works. Faith without works is dead. I, therefore, feel that our compassion is not only a demonstration of love but also of our faith. In Matthew 25 Jesus Himself, says that we will be judged on how we treated people in need. It is clearly of great importance to God.
Compassion will cost you something because compassion is selfless. It is going out of your way to show love, care, hope, peace, grace, and mercy. It will be inconvenient at times because it requires us to act in that moment of need instead of turning a blind eye or deaf ear. Compassion requires us to get involved with the so-called mess or suffering of another so we can help carry their burden.
“Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].”
Galatians 6:2 AMP
Unfortunately, the dilemmas in the world can make us indifferent or insensitive. It may appear as if nothing can be done to bring goodness, peace, love, and change to the world. It can desensitize us and make us inactive because of feelings of hopelessness. Do you feel as if the troubles of the world are a lost cause? Are you consumed by your troubles? Do you recognize the need around you?
How different would the world be if people showed more compassion for people? The world can change if the children of God live as they are supposed to through imitating Christ. The Light can push back the darkness. We need to be moved to act because of sin, injustice, cruelty, evil and hate because we have the answer. Jesus.
Jesus gave it all. He did it fully and completely on the cross, in the grave, and through His resurrection. Healing, wholeness, freedom, peace, love, acceptance, grace, power, redemption, joy, and purpose. He is the answer to every need in this world. He did it all for you and every other person in the world.
Do not live inward, focusing only on your own needs and challenges my friend. Remember to look outward and truly see and hear the needs of others to the extent that it moves you to make a difference. You are God’s hands and feet. You are an ambassador of His love, a message of hope, peace, forgiveness, grace, and redemption. We need to demonstrate Him and His glory. If we do not reach out to others with kindness, love, and selfless acts of service, they might never get to know Jesus.
Let’s love, have compassion, and take action today. Make that phone call, take a meal, offer a service for free, give your time, pay a bill, pray with a friend, listen to the long version of the story or offer your support. If you do not know what to do, trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. It can start with a simple question: How can I help you?
Stay resolute my friend.
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