Compassion does two things:
- COMPASSION FEELS
- COMPASSION ACTS
In Romans 12.15 the Bible says “rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”
Galatians 6.2 says “carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”
This requires emotion and that means we’re going to talk about something that a lot of you try not to do: and that is, a lot of you try not to show emotion
But Jesus showed us the right way to show emotions. Jesus got angry. Jesus was sad. Jesus felt joy. And Jesus felt compassion, which is love in action. So for us to follow the example of Jesus and be permanently marked by compassion, we must learn how to feel.
And that is uncharted territory for some of you and even talking about emotions freaks some of you out. You say: “I’m not showing emotions” and you retreat behind your crossed arms and your hard heart. But the reality is, this world is broken and it is filled with broken people. Scripture says we are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. And if you’re going to hide behind a mask of toughness, you’re not being Christ-like at all and you’re just letting broken people fall off cliffs. You have to learn how to feel what others are feeling and be compassionate; put love in action.
Edmund Burke said:
So if you do finally allow yourself to feel compassion, you have to do something about it. You have to meet the needs you see. You have to try to heal the brokenness around you. Because compassion is love in action.
This is what Jesus does. He puts love in action. He loves us. He died for us. And He rose from the dead so He could rescue us. We are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, just waiting to fall off a cliff. But Jesus came to be our shepherd and to rescue us.
How Do We Respond To This?
We are permanently marked by compassion because Jesus was literally moved by compassion.
He felt compassion on the harassed and the helpless and the broken and the hurting. And it moved Him towards them.
In fact, one of the last things Jesus said before He was murdered was “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” This is supreme compassion.
Jesus knows we are broken. But He moved towards us to rescue us, to save us, and He has given us the amazing opportunity to continue that heartbeat of Heaven.
So we give ourselves permission to feel. And then we do something about it. Jesus felt compassion on large crowds. And he met their needs. Simple as that. And we are called to do the same. Because compassion is love in action.