Nov11WedCompassion November 11, 2020
I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” (Is. 63:7 ESVi)
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 ESVi)
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36 ESVi)
“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Matt. 14:14 ESVi)
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psa. 103:13 ESVi)
Compassion. Its a word that is filled with so much depth. Jesus in His ministry was often moved by compassion and was led to help people, to heal the sick, to break bondages. He was moved by compassion. The word means to be sympathetic and concerned for the suffering and misfortune of others. In Jesus case, he was not only sympathetic to the plight of those around him, he was moved by the love he had for all people. He was moved by compassion to act in kindness and mercy.
The opposite of compassion is indifference and heartlessness. An indifferent heart doesn’t care to reduce the suffering of others. It often doesn’t even see the need, so how can it be moved to empathize? Compassion is our ability to feel for another living being. It is the ability to suffer with. Compassion is defined by its helpfulness and mercy in the face of suffering and need. If our hearts are not moved by the suffering and we aren’t motivated to help alleviate and prevent it, we aren’t compassionate. We are indifferent.
The word compassion has the word “passion” within it. Passion is not a quiet word, if you will. It’s a strong and barely controlled emotion, it’s an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Passion is the loud, in-your-face, exuberant kind of emotion that is constantly in motion. It is zeal, fire, fierceness, spirit, and energy. No, I don’t think about passion as being quiet or motionless. I see it as the waters of the ocean, always moving, always active.
That is what I see when I look at Jesus ministry. Passion. When it says that Jesus was moved by compassion, I don’t believe it was this feeling of being nice that moved Him. Instead it was a fierce love that compelled Him to action. It was a strong desire for good to break through. It was the prayer, Your kingdom come and Your will be done, oh Father, on earth right now as it is in heaven. This is the passion that moved in Jesus.
Can we say, this is the passion in us? You see, compassion isn’t satisfied with the status quo. Compassion is all about making a difference. It is not okay with the way things are, but wants to bring things to the way they should be. If compassion walks into a situation, you can be sure change will be the outcome. Compassion refuses to let suffering continue without hope. It seeks to infuse hope, to ease the pain, to bring change. Jesus, when he walked into situations of suffering, always made a difference. Compassion moved Him to act. It moved Him to heal, to restore, to teach, to be a living hope in the lives of people.
I believe Jesus wants the same to be true of us, His sons and daughters. He longs for us to follow in his footsteps. To be tender-hearted and sensitive to the plight of the world around us. May we be moved into action, moved by the needs around us. May Jesus be our passion, and may His fierce desire for goodness and mercy fill us. I pray that compassion and faithfulness will never leave us and we are found abiding in Him. And as we dwell in His shadow, He will fill us with passion, with zeal, and energy. This is the secret. This is what enables us to be moved by compassion: passion for Jesus. When the Lord is our passion, His heart is our heart and His desire is our desire. He fills our heart with good things, so that out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths can bring good news. So be encouraged, you can make a difference! Why do I know this? Because when the source flowing into you is filled with life, filled with hope, filled with passion, the same will flow out of you. So go on. See the need. Have compassion and make a difference. You can do it. He enables you.