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"Compassion: Moving past Words"

The Bible speaks of situations where Jesus is being moved by compassion, and I can believe that he felt a deep desire to do something besides the usage of his words. There was a physical action that needed to happen to show his love for those in his presence. Compassion is a demonstration of love, kindness and empathy towards others that goes deeper than personal comfort, objectives, and motives. It's a heart action that says, “It’s not my situation, but I’m making it personal because this is my brother or sister in Christ.” And for the unbeliever, to witness this type of genuine compassion that we share is surely a testament of the Spirit that dwells in us to serve one another in such a fashion that makes it so distinguishable from the relentless world of people who only look out for themselves or do things for motives.

We can observe this example in Matthew 15:32, where although Jesus had been healing the lame and teaching for three days, he stopped and said to the disciples, ”I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Now I can be almost sure that his main objective at the time was to make sure that he was getting the people to understand that he was the way, the truth, the light. His works are evidence of who he claims to be. It was only through his power and authority that such miracles could happen. But we often know that sometimes that isn’t enough. What changes the heart of man more than anything is knowing that they are loved and cared for past words, titles, and even yes, sometimes miracles.

Let’s go deeper. The word compassionate can be translated from the Hebrew word rakhum or when used as a noun, compassion is rakhamim. Both words are related to the word rekhem which means womb. God displays the very sense of what it means to correlate the invisible attachment of compassion to how a mother feels for her child long before they are born. In Isaiah 49:15 God says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” In a more common explanation, is my assumption that those words are tied together because it is in the womb that a mother, and even the father, begins to have such deep feelings for what’s growing that they are moved to begin to prepare for the arrival, change their lifestyle, habits, even their vehicle, to make sure that the baby is welcomed, comfortable and has everything it needs. They are compelled to do more than just talk about how much love they have for the unborn baby; they are moved to do.

So how do we offer compassion in today’s world? Remember the very purpose of your existence as a Christ follower. How did Christ display compassion? True compassion, whether you are the giver or receiving it, can be life-changing! In order to show compassion, we must have a relationship with the Father! Knowing His heart towards his people compels us and “moves” us to know what each other needs, even when it's not being spoken. Compassion is praying for others so that you are able to respond in the way God needs you to, serve as He tells us to, and care for one another outside of just words. It pulls us from our busy days and schedules to stop and see about one another. We move our conversations from just talking about what’s going on with someone and feeling pity for them to actually doing something about it.

So, as a follower of Christ, I urge you to understand that God is deeply compassionate about us. He is our Creator, and we are made in His image and likeness, therefore interwoven in our very being is the power to love as He loves and to be compassionate towards one another. Let Matthew 25:34-40 remind you, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

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