Compassion is having a sense of concern over another person’s need or pain. It includes pity, sympathy, and empathy. Our Lord Jesus was, and will always be, full of compassion.
“He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. “ Psalm 111:4 (NKJV)
Are you a compassionate person? How do you show compassion? Do you practice acts of compassion with only family and friends or do you extend it to strangers?
After Lazarus died, Jesus went to visit his tomb. Upon arriving, he spoke with the dead man’s sisters, Mary and Martha. He felt their pain and was filled with compassion when He witnessed their great sorrow. The Son of God felt emotions and John 11:35 writes that Jesus wept. Our Savior was well acquainted with grief and completely identified with the sorrow of Mary and Martha.
In that time, professional mourners were often hired to make public displays of grief. Their wailing was loud and unmistakable. Unlike today (and in our culture), people were given the freedom to loudly voice their sorrow. They were not hushed into silence or expected to carry on stoically. Friends and neighbors would wear sackcloth and rip their clothes as a sign of compassion, sharing in the grief.
“But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart. I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother. “ Psalm 35:13-14 (NKJV)
In Hebrews 5:2, we learn why we should offer compassion to others. “He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.” You see, we all have weak areas that cause us to struggle and stumble in life. None of us are above the affects of temptation or sin.
Therefore, we are not to judge those who are wrestling with their demons. Rather, we need to remember our own frailty and help our brothers and sisters by spurring them on to victory. A heart full of compassion and encouragement can do much good.
Another time to share our compassion is when illness strikes. There are so many cases of chronic pain, depression, cancer, and debilitating conditions. Illness befalls the young and the old and has no favorites. It is relentless, impartial, and has a reach beyond measure.
When I was overwhelmed with a trial, kind words of compassion, small thoughtful gifts, loving hugs, and hand written cards were often the boost I needed to take another step forward. My distress and anguish did not completely disappear, but others were sent to ease my suffering and bring me comfort. I encourage you to look for ways to show compassion to those around you. It is an honor to be a vessel of God’s mercy and grace.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:15 (NKJV)
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. “ Luke 10:33 (NKJV)
“So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4 (NKJV)