In the book of Luke, Jesus gives us a profound teaching: “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36). Compassion is more than a simple feeling of sympathy; it is an active, powerful force that drives us to aid those in need, to alleviate suffering, and to uphold the dignity of every human being. Love in action is a force that compels us to reach out, heal, and offer comfort and support. Compassion is about seeing others through the eyes of our Loving Heavenly Father, recognizing the inherent worth and value in every person. The echo of His divine love resonates in our hearts, guiding our actions and interactions. This is the compassion that Jesus speaks of, which mirrors our Father’s boundless love and mercy. It’s about being moved to action by the suffering of others and seeking to make a difference, even in small ways. God’s compassion forms the heart of our faith, for we become instruments of God’s love in the world through acts of compassion.
From a biblical standpoint, compassion is more than just a feeling of mercy; it’s a profound awareness of someone else’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate it. This core principle lies at the heart of Christianity, deeply rooted in the teachings of Jesus and reflecting God’s character as seen in the cross of Christ. The Bible shows countless examples of God’s compassion towards humanity. “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15, NLT)
But compassion in the Bible isn’t just about experiencing empathy; it calls for action. It’s not a passive emotion but an active choice to engage with suffering and work towards its relief. This is beautifully illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), where a Samaritan, moved by compassion, selflessly helps someone in need.
In our faith, the power of compassion holds immense significance. It serves as a guiding principle for how we interact with others, leading us towards acts of kindness, generosity, and the pursuit of justice. By embodying compassion, we become vessels of God’s love, bringing His tangible presence into the lives of those around us. In these moments, we can truly live out the teachings of Jesus.
Responding to Compassion with Love and Kindness
Nowadays, more than ever, it’s important for us to respond to the call of compassion. We must be willing to go out into the world and actively engage those around us. To do so, we must first open our hearts to the suffering of others and understand it through an empathetic lens. We must also reach out with love and kindness, offering tangible help in whatever ways we can.
It is so easy daily to respond with criticism and hate rather than compassion being Jesus’s hands and feet. That’s why, as followers of Christ, we must speak words of love to those we encounter and seek ways to extend compassion practically. Even if you are not yet a follower of Jesus, you probably are inwardly giving me a hearty “amen” about compassion. All humanity agrees that the world could use more compassion.
Scriptural Examples of Compassion
When we navigate through the Bible, we are presented with numerous instances where compassion was beautifully demonstrated, particularly in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus’s life was a living testament to the nature of God’s compassion.
One example is the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The Pharisees, expecting Jesus to uphold the letter of the Mosaic law, were surprised when Jesus responded with compassion and mercy, saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Instead of condemnation, Jesus offered forgiveness, showing us that compassion is kind, forgiving, and transformative.
In another instance, Jesus showed compassion for the crowd who had come to listen to his teachings, realizing they were like “sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). Moved by compassion, he began to teach them many things, presenting us with a picture of compassion that listens, understands, and educates.
Perhaps one of the most powerful demonstrations of Jesus’s compassion is seen in the story of Lazarus’s resurrection (John 11:1-44). Upon seeing Mary weeping over her brother’s death, Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). we see that compassion shares in the sorrow and suffering of others and performs acts of great love in response to that suffering. This compassion led Jesus to perform one of his most astounding miracles – the resurrection of Lazarus.
Through these examples, we see that Jesus’s compassion is not passive. It’s active, transformative, and deeply engaged with the suffering of others. It’s a compassion that teaches, forgives, comforts, and restores. Following Jesus’s example, we can embody this same compassionate spirit in our lives.
Following Jesus’s example, we can embody this same compassionate spirit in our lives. We can open our hearts to the suffering of those around us and actively seek ways to alleviate it. As we reach out with compassion, kindness, and love, let’s remember that God stands ready to do extraordinary things in response!
Compassion – A Call to Action
Over and over in scripture, we see that Jesus had compassion, was filled with compassion, or had compassion. Compassion is a powerful tool God has given us to do good in this world. It can and should move us to bring about lasting change and transformation in the lives of others. We become instruments of God’s love through compassion, demonstrating His character, and living out His commands.
Remember that our Heavenly Father is a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and respond to the world around us with compassion, love, and kindness!
Join us this weekend at Alive Church as we launch our ALL NEW weekend series, Compassion Changes Everything. We are honored to partner with Convoy of Hope throughout this series.