Compassion in the dictionary means: “A deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”
Webster defines the word “Compassion” as; “Pity or Sympathy.”
From the Greek “Compassion” is defined as “Inward Affection, Pity or Sympathy, yearning.”
What compassion means to us today literally is “Suffering With Another!”
Compassion is action. Compassion moves. It doesn’t stand still. It doesn’t ignore the problem. And it surely doesn’t turn away when someone is in need.
Lam. 3:22 – 23 NKJV
“Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Because of God’s mercy we are not consumed. God’s character towards us can be described well with the word: “mercy.” Its His “tender mercies” that moves Him to help us.
The Old Testament word for mercy incorporates three things. His:
- Covenant of compassion.
- Consuming commitment to bring us into..
- Everlasting communion with Himself.
Mercy and compassion are interchangeable. God’s mercy is His compassion towards us even when we deserve punishment. He is committed to restore us even though we deserve to endure the consequences of our sin, and His covenant of love and communion overwhelms us in the middle of our foolishness.
In this verse in Laminations “mercy” describes the Father’s intense emotional yearning for a wayward people – You and I.
God’s mercies are new every morning. This tells us that we need God’s mercy more then we think. Whether we feel weak or strong, we need God’s mercy everyday.
Psalm 78:38 – 39 NKJV
“But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; For he remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.”
God is FULL of compassion. I am so thankful for this. Too many times I have messed up and deserved judgement and punishment. There are times God does bring correction. It is God’s compassion that brings correction, but with correction God’s compassion comforts us and gives us strength to endure any consequences we may have to walk through because of our bad behavior.
The Bible tells us many times that God is compassionate or has mercy for us. Jesus is exactly like His Father. Jesus was moved with compassion often in His earthly ministry.
We have been looking at “The Roads That Jesus Walked.” This week we look at the road of compassion. Without compassion Jesus wouldn’t of had such an impact on the world. He wouldn’t have come to save us because there is action to compassion.
Compassion of Jesus
- Jesus has compassion for the Demoniac.
Read Mark 5:1 – 19
Mark 5:19 NKJV
“However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
This man was demon possessed and lived in the tombs or caves. He was an outcast and rejected by society. No one could tame him. Nothing could hold him, not even iron shackles. Night and day he cried out and cut himself with stones. But when He saw Jesus, even the demonic, have to worship Him. He ran to Jesus and worshiped Him. Jesus cast out the demons and they went into the pigs. 2000 pigs couldn’t take the legion of demons and they ran violently down the steep hill into the sea and drowned. This man was extremely tormented! Scripture doesn’t say how he became that way. But it gives us some light on the compassion of Jesus. When the man wanted to follow Jesus where ever he went, Jesus told him to go back home. Jesus gave His live back to him. His family and friends. No more being an outcast or a reject. No more torment! Remember compassion is seeing the suffering and doing something about it. Jesus totally set this man free and restored his life back to him. This is compassion!
2. Jesus has compassion for the lost.
Read Matthew 9:35 – 38
Matt. 9:36 NKJV
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
Jesus was moved with compassion over the multitudes. He saw them wondering and weak. He saw the great work that needed to be done. The people were ripe for harvest and many workers are needed to reach them. This is the very heart of God: people. We too must have this heart of compassion.
Jesus was moved with compassion! Lost souls moved Christ to cry out to them, to seek them, to save them. Again in the book of Mark we see Jesus moved with compassion.
“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”
3. Jesus has compassion for the sick.
Any miracle that Jesus performed was out of compassion.
Read Mark 1:40 – 45
Mark 1:41 NKJV
“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.”
Matt. 14:14 NKJV
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
The phrase “moved with compassion” here means “stirred to action.” Jesus didn’t just sit back and notice the needs of the people. He was moved, stirred in His heart. He felt their pain. There was more then an awareness of their situation, there was action.
So, what did Jesus do? He didn’t just talk. His heart was stirred at what He saw and He had a consuming desire to change things. The feelings of pity and sympathy He felt moved Him to action.
Compassion is not just pity or sympathy. It is more than being moved to tears or stirred up emotionally. Compassion means pity and mercy accompanied by a desire to help change things. True compassion moves us to do something!
“Compassion will cure more sin than condemnation.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“Compassion without action is a wasted emotion”
We need to have compassion for others. Not only do we need it, but it is a command in God’s word.
It’s not enough to have “pity” for someone. We need a deep awareness of the suffering of others and have the desire to do something about it. Compassion is actually something we are to put on and wear.
Colossians 3:12 – 14 Message
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
This is a powerful eye-opener of what we are to wear each day. Your life is not all about you. Your life is about others. Just loving yourself and being kind and compassionate to yourself is NOT the way to live, not according to God’s word. We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only.
James 1:22 – 25 HCSB
“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts — this person will be blessed in what he does.”
If you call yourself a Christian, act like one! Show action with your compassion!
Pastor Kris Belfils
The antonyms of the word “compassion” are: “Cruelty, harshness, hatred, indifference, meanness, mercilessness, and tyranny.”
Do you have any of these traits? There is hope! We can ask Jesus to help us be more like Him and He will. The key is to be willing to change.
Christ didn’t HAVE TO do anything He did. He did the gracious, loving, kind, compassionate, wonderful things He did because He wanted to do them! They were the natural expression of His nature.
Christ’s compassion is available to us when we are hurting because He loves us and automatically wants to help us. In turn, we are to be compassionate towards others.
Of all the roads that Jesus walked, the “road of compassion” showed His love for others. I am thankful for the compassion of Christ. You and I need it desperately. To the degree Christ had compassion on you is the degree you should have compassion on others. We are all wretched people. There is no good in us apart from God. Any compassion in you is from God. When you think of it, we are helpless, hopeless until God, who moved with compassion, took action and sent His Son to save us. Shouldn’t we, in turn, move with compassion to give hope to others who don’t know Christ?
I leave you with this last verse:
1 Peter 3:8 – 9 Message
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.”
Your compassionate sister in Christ,
Pastor Kris Belfils