A recent study through the Gospel of Matthew reveals important information for growing Christians. One element that is often missing in the heart and life of a believer is compassion.
“When he (Jesus) saw the multitude, he was moved with compassion on them” (Matthew 9:36).
Unfortunately, most people in the world wouldn’t describe believers as “compassionate.” We’re more likely to be labeled “judgmental” (more on that in the next post) or “hypocritical.”
Sadly, this means we aren’t living up to the title “Christian” because Christ demonstrated compassion during every moment of his life.
One problem with compassion is the definition. Too many people equate compassion with sympathy.
Sympathy says, “I feel sorry about what you’re going through.” Compassion moves beyond feeling sorry.
Compassion has empathy for others. Empathy says, “I share your pain.” It involves seeing all the way to the heart of someone until their grief blinds you to pity.
When Jesus saw the multitude of people, he realized they fainted and needed guidance. He willingly stepped up to minister to both of those needs – because he was “moved with compassion.”
Moved to Pray
If you continue reading in Matthew chapter nine, you discover the two things compassion should move us to do.
The first is prayer.
Most of the time, I need to pray that I will share the perception of Jesus. That my eyes will see the true condition of people and my heart will be touched with their despair.
It also involves praying for God to send aid those who are hurting. Then being willing to be part of God’s answer.
Too often we pray and wipe our hands – duty done.
Moved to Help Others
Jesus was moved to teach, preach and heal. All of this was done for the sole purpose of applying salve to the deep wounds he saw in people.
Jesus traveled in circles all over Israel to share his message of hope. He bathed the words with physical care.
Empathy has nothing to do with what we say. Empathy is all about our actions.
Someone mourns their loss. We sit beside them, weeping. Someone shakes from abandonment. Our arms encircle them, imparting the security of our presence.
If we claim the name of Christ, we should be moved by what moved Him to do what He did. Christ had compassion on everyone he saw. Do you?
Next Week: Why Biblical Fathers get a Bad Rap