Jesus was full of compassion. The Greek word that is translated “compassion” in English literally means something that hurts you in your gut that causes you to do something about it. More than just a feeling, compassion is an emotion that drives you to action. Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:35-37) to illustrate love and compassion in action.
For example, when a person truly has compassion for those who are malnourished around the world, that person will actively get involved in solving the problem of malnourishment. Another example: if someone has compassion for those who are spiritually lost, that person will do everything possible to share the good news of Jesus with them so that they will have the opportunity to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Compassion is in God’s very nature. The foundation of compassion is our Creator Himself. Our God is a compassionate God.
16 Answer me, LORD, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Compassion is the way of Christ. Jesus was full of compassion when He walked the earth. He fed people, healed people, taught people, and proclaimed good news to people.
His acts of compassion led them to trust in Him as Lord and Savior, evidenced by the fact that they followed Him. Jesus showed compassion to meet people’s physical needs and to show them that He could meet their spiritual needs as well.
35 Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.
32 Now Jesus summoned His disciples and said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry; otherwise they might collapse on the way.”
33 “Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.
Compassion is the calling of every follower of Jesus. God calls us to follow in the way of Christ by showing compassion to people, especially to those that society overlooks. Widows and orphans have needs. There are those who need food and clothing.
If we have true faith in Christ, we will show compassion by giving of our time, talents and/or resources to Christ-centered ministries that that help meet their needs. Followers of Jesus will personally get involved in ministering to those who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, without proper clothing, sick, or in prison as the Lord lays those opportunities on your heart.
Compassionate acts must be accompanied by a gospel witness. More than just meeting physical needs, acts of compassion should help people to see that Jesus can and will meet their spiritual needs if they will put their trust in Him. Otherwise, people may be fed, clothed and educated on earth but spend eternity separated from God in hell. Such a scenario is not compassionate at all.
Compassionate acts must be accompanied by a gospel witness.
27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.
34 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 foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ 40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
As it relates to our city, state and nation at election time, each follower of Jesus should ask: which candidates and political party that I support will establish laws and policies that allow for a culture of compassion to flourish? This does not mean the government should meet all the needs, thereby hijacking the compassionate opportunities of individuals, churches and ministries. Rather, the government should fulfill its important but limited role so that a culture of compassion can flourish!
Editor’s Note: This is post #5 of 7 in the series We God’s People are the Conscience of the Culture. Click the links below to view the other posts.
- Post #1 — A Culture of Truth
- Post #2 — A Culture of Freedom
- Post #3 — A Culture of Justice
- Post #4 — A Culture of Work
- Post #6 — A Culture of Morality
- Post #7 — A Culture of Strength