Throughout Scripture, Jesus is a consistent example of the definition of compassion.
Webster describes it as "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." When studying this topic in preparation for today's blog entry, I noted that while synonyms of compassion are "sympathy" and "feeling," antonyms are "hard-heartedness" and "callousness."
Forming harsh opinions and saying hurtful things about a person's situation when you have never personally gone through their struggles is just one example of a hardened heart. It's easy to do. You get wrapped up in your own life, you get "tired of hearing about it," and it's hard to see things from other perspectives. But, in love, I want to say that this is not of Jesus. His heart, His life... it compels us towards a compassionate spirit.
What does compassion look like? Compassion looks like Jesus. It looks like the King bowing before His disciples to wash their feet, symbolic of the importance of service and servanthood. It looks like Jesus healing the sick, setting an example for us to do everything in our power to care for those that we are able to help ("Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, and He healed the sick." Matthew 14:14). It looks like Jesus, loving the adulterous woman through her sin, rather than judging her (John 8:3-11). It looks like a Father, sending His only Son to die so that we can have life.
If Jesus Christ, the wonderful, all powerful, merciful Father and Creator has set this example for us, and could endure all the hurt that He did on our behalf, why is it so hard for us to show compassion on others?
Accept this challenge with me, dear friends, to continue working towards a Heart Like His.
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind."
1 Peter 3:8