Compassion is a trait that is important for anyone that follows Christ. Compassion is a form of love and love is a universal language that everyone can understand. When someone else does something for our benefit, we feel something that makes us feel good. That something is the feeling of receiving love. We received love from God when He sent his son for us as a savior for our sin. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). We all desire to be loved because God is love and God is the creator of man. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16).
"Continually soften your heart so that it beats for what His heart beats for… people!"
- Christine Caine
Giving love, on the other hand, shows in the trait of compassion. Compassion is defined as “Having sympathy on behalf of someone else for their sufferings or misfortunes”. Compassion is a love that hates suffering and desires peace. A lot of people claim they don’t know how to show compassion, especially to the ones they don’t feel deserve it but keep in mind though, we are professionals at showing compassion towards ourselves because we feel we deserve to be shown love. So we know how to have compassion we just don’t show it to others for selfish reasons. We are called to have compassionate hearts for others. Colossians 3:12 Says Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with compassionate hearts… Jesus himself constantly had compassion even until his death on the cross. Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). Jesus was on the cross and had compassion for the men killing him! Most of us would show hatred and disgust in that same situation but Jesus had the perspective to understand where he stood in God’s eyes and his purpose for him. He died for all of humanity and felt the pain and suffering that we all go through just to show us the perspective we should have, a godly one. If that’s not the greatest sign of compassion, I don’t know what is! There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).
Compassion in Action
With an understanding of what compassion is and why we should have it let’s break down what it looks like. In many cases in God’s word, Jesus not only has compassion for people but it causes him to do something about it. Having compassion towards a person that is in need and walking away without helping fulfill that need is not compassion at its fullest. Feeling bad for someone is just feeling sorry, but having compassion is taking action on your feelings for them.
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14). Because of Jesus’ compassion for them he healed them. The action followed the compassion.
Before Jesus fed the 4,000 he had compassion on them and made enough food out of 7 loaves of bread and two fish. Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way (Matthew 15:32). He made enough food for more than 4,000 men because he had compassion for their hunger and he had been with them for 3 days. He refused to leave them hungry.
A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15). Jesus had compassion on the widow and healed her son! That type of compassion takes it a step further than what we are used to. Helping another person that has compassion for someone else.
This is 3 of many instances in which Jesus has compassion on people and I can probably go on for days telling them all! Just know that action is taken upon feeling bad for someone and we should do the same to those around us.
Compassion is a form of love that has sympathy for others. Having compassion considers others pain and suffering as your own and compels you to do something about it. Jesus had many examples of having compassion towards people and did something about it to relieve these people from their pain. Remember, God had compassion for all of humanity and sent his son as a living sacrifice for us because he loves us. Keep this in mind the next time you find someone suffering or struggling. Don’t just feel for them do unto them what has already been done for you. We love each other because he loved us first (1 John 4:19). Show compassion by helping their situation even if it just means prayer.
- Write down the names of people around you this week who are suffering or are in pain that you have compassion for. Don’t stop there though. Find a way to help one of them if not all of them with their situation. Seek their need, and look to fulfill it before they leave your presence.
- Take notice of those around you who are showing compassion towards you and add it to your journal and testimony!
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the love and compassion that you have shown to your people. I am grateful that we get a good God despite the lack of good that we are as people. Lord help my heart to have more compassion towards people to the point that it causes me to take action. Lord I know that your heart hurts when I hurt so help me have a heart like yours that cares for people. Let my actions be a reminder for me that I can love others because of the love you have already given me through your son. Lord I thank you for your promises and let me rest in those and let those be my confidence to live out your word every day of my life. I thank you. I love you. And I pray all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.