Being Bold with Compassion
“Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are. If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. Do your best to live in peace with everyone.”
Romans 12:15-15 NCV
Most of us struggle with being compassionate towards people that rub us the wrong way. In a culture where everyone is so concerned about themselves, it’s hard to lead a life of putting others first. The secret is, if we can keep our eyes fixed on the One who loves us the most, loving others will become easier and easier, even those that we don’t see eye-to-eye with.
As I was trying to decide what to write this week, compassion immediately came to mind. Lately, God has been showing me just how many hurt people there are in this world. We are called as Christians to have a heart like the Savior– we know that. But why is it so difficult for us to grasp? If that’s the way our heart and emotions toward others is supposed to be, then why don’t our actions line up with that? If we are called to be compassionate and loving, with hearts that break for the lost, why isn’t it our #1 priority to reach the lost and hurting?
This is a reminder that I need to constantly make for myself, because it is very easy to lose focus and prioritize your life in the wrong way. There are two great Bible passages that display the compassion we should have and the example Jesus leaves for us found in John 8 & 9.
“They said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more, He bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him.” (John 8:4-9, ESV)
I have always loved this story of the woman caught in adultery and the way Jesus protects her from her persecutors. In this story, there are three roles: the woman, Jesus and her persecutors. When we’re met with someone we don’t agree with, we have a choice. We can either be Jesus to the people around us, or we can join the crowd and be people who persecute the broken. God wants to come to the defense of the broken people in your life through you! It is God’s goal to develop a relationship with them and lead them to His salvation and freedom.
Jesus also displays such a powerful point in this story to the men that were trying to persecute the women by saying “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” We have all been that women, in need of redemption and full of brokenness. When we were in that position, we wanted to be met with compassion. But Jesus’ forgiveness shouldn’t make us self-righteous. We have no right and are in no position to persecute others around us, when we have been them before and are just as imperfect.
In John 9, we read a whole new story of Jesus healing a blind man.
“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.’ (John 9:1-7, ESV)
After Jesus comes to our rescue, He wants to heal us and more than restore us. If you have received salvation through Jesus Christ you have experienced this. Isn’t this what you want for the world around you– for the people you work with, the people in your classes, your friends and family? I know I do. Sometimes, I think we put too much stress and pressure on performance and works. At the end of the day, all you have to do is let God work through you and be a vessel for Him. It’s time we make more of an effort to put compassion first, and be Jesus to the people around us.
I thank you for saving me and prospering my life so I can help guide someone in theirs. I thank you for your Godly wisdom and the joy you have instilled in me. Lord, I want to be your apostle, sharing you and your word with all I encounter. I pray that you break my heart for the ones who feel helpless and alone, and give me numerous opportunities to come alongside them and minister to them out of a genuine heart. Lord, use me to make someone’s day at least a little brighter.
In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen
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