As I was running errands a few weeks ago, I happened to hear a disturbing interaction between a two people. They were young adults in a heated debate over the political and top news stories of the day. They were full-on into defending their ideals, promoting their agenda, and deflating the others stances. As a speech major in college and having once coached and officiated formal debate I was interested in the contest. However, what was disturbing to me was their indifference to each other’s insights, their lack of empathy to each other’s feeling, and each one’s intensity to get their point across rather than listening and understanding the other’s stance. It was not really a conversation of discovery and learning, or a healthy debate to test the strength and soundness of their stance. They seemed more into name calling, catching the other in an inaccuracy, and attacking the character of the other. They both lacked compassion for the other, caring more about themselves and their tactics than the weight of the issues or how those issues impacted the other and the world. They were not moved by compassion.
The sad reality is empathy, compassion, and care seems to be replaced with sarcasm, name calling, and tactics to ram our agenda down the throat of others. We so easily let our concern grow cold and care more about winning our arguments or promoting our agendas. But it does not have to be that way. We can choose to be moved by compassion like Discovery Church in Orlando who rallied around the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Moved with compassion, Pastor Joe Jackson of Discovery Church said to news station, WFLA, “Our neighbors are struggling, we have to do something.”
Pastor Joe was just reflecting the compassion of Jesus.
Matthew 9:35-36 35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 When he (Jesus) went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 20:34 And Jesus in pity (compassion) touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
Luke 19:41 And when he (Jesus) drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,
We are called to empathy, sympathy, care, concern, and kindness.
Matthew 22:39 And a second (of the key commandments we are to follow) is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Galatians 6:9-10 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
One of the most impactful teachings of Jesus on being moved with compassion for others is the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). In the story a man is robbed, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Two religious leaders walk by and it seems these would be the likely ones to help, being they have dedicated their lives to reflect the nature of God. Yet they were so wrapped up in their own agendas and life, they stepped to the other side of the road and walked on. Finally, an unlikely soul comes by and, moved with compassion, shows mercy. Jesus says the one who made the compassionate move to help was the one who truly loved his neighbor.
Maybe it’s time we let compassion move us and get active, even in our discussions, to be kind, care, show concern and be empathetic towards others. Will you? What could you do today to let compassion move you?
A good place to learn of Jesus’ compassion is at church. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove this week. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . We are actually in the beginnings of a new Bible teaching series about God called “Behold! Grasping the Intangible God”. We would love for you to join us.
Seeking to let compassion move along with you,