*Compassion – A Must For All Believers

compassion war

The “_____is as _____does” saying is rather catchy. I find myself often enacting the Forrest Gump version of this: getting back from the grocery store and, instead of making three trips, I decide to carry all 20 bags in at once. That is me demonstrating stupid is as stupid does. Insert your favorite Mr. Bean or Cosmos Kramer pratfall – falling down stairs, tripping over the dog(s) or my feet – and that is usually my comical ending.

I think we, as believers, can apply this to our faith journey. We can insert holy, loving, giving, serving, and a host of other verbs, to this phrase, to describe how our faith should be demonstrated here on earth. But, today, I would like to concentrate on compassionate.

Compassionate is as compassionate does.

Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Jesus is our best example of compassion.

Matthew 9:36: Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 20:34: Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

Jesus, though he was God, was also human, with human emotions. He had tough days. In Matthew 14, Jesus had just received the news that the person who knew Him best, John the Baptist, had been murdered to fulfill a sinful promise by a lustful King Herod.

Matthew tells us how Jesus reacted: Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself… (Matthew 14:13a)

Most of us have experienced something tragic from life – an illness, betrayal, loss of job, losing a loved one – this is part of life. It is natural for us to want to be alone, with God, to process what has happened. I believe this is what Jesus wanted.

But the people were relentless and would not let him have this time. Matthew tells us…

…when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. (Matthew 14:13b)

Jesus could have easily avoided the people, but the Bible tells us how Jesus responded: When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)

As with His entire ministry, Jesus was being an example. During difficult times – times when He was tired, ridiculed, saddened, harassed, persecuted – Jesus was always loving, and compassionate… All the way to the cross.

Earlier, in Matthew, Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12, 13)

Jesus makes it clear that not only does God have compassion for sinners and the hurting, but He desires that we have that same compassion. Even when we are experiencing the difficulties of life, we should be compassionate. He wants us softer, more pliable, and usable.

Let us use our life experiences to minister to the sick, hurting, and needy… all the time sharing the life-saving Gospel.

Compassionate is as compassionate does.

Stephen John Spivey

Instigator of Hope


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