Is it a sign of compassion when we get upset seeing someone being mistreated? Or that constant roller coaster of emotions as we watch the news? Maybe compassion is that sinking feeling deep down in the pit of our stomach when we scroll through our newsfeed and see desperate parents in search of their missing child.
I would guess that we have all had the feeling at one time or another. The feeling that our very insides are churning at the reality that something terrible is happening to someone. Although many words describe that feeling, lately, I have been focused on the word…c
What does it mean to be a compassionate person?
When I was in children’s ministry, I remember us teaching kids that compassion meant, “Caring enough to do something about someone else’s need.”
I thought I would do a little word study and see what it looked like in Jesus’ life. What I found was pretty profound for me.
Stay with me, this will get weird before the A-HA moment!
I found that Jesus was filled with, or had compassion, and then He would do some pretty amazing things. A formula for those moments would look like this.
Jesus had compassion for them and then He _____________.
The word for compassion that we are going to look at today is the Greek word
This word doesn’t mean just a feeling of sadness for someone’s situation. It means “be moved as to one’s bowels, to be moved with compassion, have compassion, to have the bowels yearn, feel sympathy, to pity, be “moved” with compassion.”
Where am I going with this moving bowels thing? The biblical usage of bowels was thought of as the seat of love and pity. To be moved with compassion is actually really profound.
When Jesus felt compassion, He moved! He didn’t wait, He didn’t think about it, He ACTED!
When Jesus felt compassion for an individual or a group of people there was such a movement of compassion in Him that it was released into action for the benefit of the people He felt it toward.
Let’s look at a few examples…
- When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed
theirsick. Mat 14:14
- Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “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.” Mat 15:32 Jesus proceeds to feed 4000 people.
- Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Mat 20:34
- When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34
- When the Lord saw her, his heart went out (translated: He felt compassion) to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Luke 7:13 Jesus then raised a boy from the dead.
In these verses, we see that the “movement of compassion” led to healing the sick, feeding the hungry, opening blind eyes, teaching, and resurrecting the dead. That is pretty awesome!
Compassion Is Action
I want to remember the times that He has moved in my life, so that I can respond with a heart of compassion toward someone else’s need.
Compassion means taking action. We see such a beautiful display of compassion throughout the life of Christ. His death and resurrection was an action that He took out of compassion for us.
Here are 7 actions that we can take to demonstrate compassion.
- Smile – A simple smile can mean the world to someone. one smile from you can cause someone to feel noticed or accepted.
- Encourage– Your words are powerful! Encouragement can make all the difference in the world. Text, call or email someone today!
- Time- The gift of your time and attention is incredibly special.
- Listen- Be still & present while you learn someone’s story.
- Pray- The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave lives in you! You can spend time with Him in prayer for those around you.
- Give- Give your resources to help others advance a cause you have compassion for.
- Serve- Give your time to take action & make a difference in the lives of others.
Jesus models this for us. Allow yourself to be filled with compassion and then take action.
Share with us a way that you took action this week!
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