Compassion is when as humans we get to imitate God’s mercy. It is unmerited empathy and care for another’s distress. Compassion doesn’t keep score and never expects to be returned. Jesus left us several great examples of His compassion when he healed and also when he dealt with the multitudes. His ministry here could have been so different. He kept it personal and intimate. Compassion is an intimate act. It’s kindness with heart and feet. Let’s look at God’s Word for some great examples of compassion.
Our first example comes from Psalms 103:3-14
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
In verse 3-14 we see that GOD extends all kinds of compassion on our behalf. We are able to experience at any given time His forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, satisfaction, righteous judgment, mercy, pity, grace. In verse 7 we also see that He makes His way known how compassionate not to make us doubt the clear way. In verse 8 we see his attributes of mercy, grace, slow to anger, and mercy is mention again as being plenteous.
In vs 9 we also see that there is an end to God’s mercy
I love vs 10. This is where we really see how we are to have compassion. Ever want to get even with someone. Have you ever wanted “their day” to come? Imagine for a second if we were GOD. How would we deal with that person who hurt us or disappointed us? The point of vs 11 is that GOD’s mercy is above our understanding or comprehension. His compassion is so intense that He removes our sins from His sight.
Compassion is very much like pity. We have all been in a position in which we were furious beyond sanity with a person but for some reason we reverse our need for revenge and extend mercy to the very person who wronged us. That is compassion. A compassionate person knows the person they are extending compassion on is needy. They know their soul is more important than their own feelings.
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
We see how our Heavenly Father expects us to treat Him in verses 35-43. How do we do these things? By treating each other the same way he treats us, especially strangers. We can also see here that compassion isn’t a take it or leave it proposition. Many times we make optional things that GOD feels strongly about. Although He doesn’t say you have to have compassion He demonstrates the consequences of not having compassion. I think the premise here is that saved people will have compassion and those who have no compassion are more than likely not members of the body of Christ. An unforgiving heart is not a compassionate heart.
Brethren is a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted, Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
We have to be careful of the danger of compassion. We have to be careful having compassion about sin in the life of another believer. We all know friends and family who will not confront an individual and gives way too many chances to “do better.” This is misplaced compassion and can cripple someone who should get on with the business of doing what is right in the eyes of God. The world calls this behavior a form of enabling. By extended unwarranted compassion you give a person a safe haven from the conviction of GOD sometimes. We need to be frank with others in the area of sin in their lives. Lovingly telling them in a way that helps them rather than reinforces the sin. We need be supportive with our compassion and very careful. If they are in sin, we have no choice but to speak the truth in love. That is the most compassionate way to handle them.
The book of Jude is rich in warnings of being ungodly but also in walking in the love of GOD. Jude 22 is a beautiful verse that sums up the whole purpose of compassion.
22 And of some having compassion making a difference.
Jude 20 –25 is basically encouragement to the believers who are walking in this earth.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.