By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
When I think of compassion I think of Jesus first, but then I think of Job 2:11-13. Job’s friends spend most of the story trying to understand and explain God but, before they spoke foolishly they acted very wisely. They heard about Job’s misfortune and planned to come to him together.
When they got to Job they sat down in the ashes with him and silently wept with him for seven days. Job’s friends couldn’t change his situation and they couldn’t take away his sorrow but they could sit and silently hurt with him for awhile.
Compassion comes from a word that literally translates “to suffer with.” This is exactly what true compassion is. It is empathy in action. It’s this very quality that Paul is encouraging the Galatian believers to share with one another.
It’s been said that the Christian army is the only one which kills its wounded. Sometimes this seems true of us. When one of our faith family is revealed to have been caught in a practice that is immoral or questionable, it is our duty to seek their repentance, redemption, and restoration with a spirit of gentleness and care. “But for grace, there go I.”
It’s debatable who first said that phrase but it is a powerful reminder that, were it not for God’s restraining grace in our lives we could fall even quicker and easier than those in our fellowships that God commands us to rebuke and restore. Let us be people of compassion, hurting for and with the hurting.
Paul continues his encouragement toward compassion by reminding us that compassion is not an emotion we feel but it is something we show to others. John Wesley said to, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
How can Jesus followers continue to do good for others like this without giving up? We remember that we do good to serve our good God, our strength doesn’t come from our own ability but from Him, and that our reward may not come immediately or even in this life but it will come in due time if we don’t give up!
This is true compassion, doing good for others because Christ has done such good for you.
Let it be our prayer that God would give us His eyes to see people as God sees them, His heart to love people as He loves them, His feet to run after the hurting as He runs after them, His arms to uphold them, and His voice to comfort them.
May God give us true compassion from Himself to continue serving all those for whom Christ died.