When our eyes have been opened by Jesus — when we see people the way he sees them — we can no longer sit quietly while hurting souls wander aimlessly through life all around us. Compassion for the lost cannot coexist with complacency. Apathy is no longer an option.
“This is how we know who the children of God are,” the apostle John tells us, “and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Does God’s Word get any clearer than this? There is a litmus test to see if we are true followers of Jesus, to see if we are really his children, and it hinges on the level of our compassion for others.
John goes on to write, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us” (1 John 3:17-20).
When the Holy Spirit has come into our hearts and lives, filling us with the love and compassion of Jesus, we see people clearly. Our eyes shine with the joy of the Lord, and we can no longer walk by the outcast of our day — the poor, the addict, the alcoholic, the gang member, the sinner — without seeing him, without feeling his pain. We take it upon ourselves to help him restore his dignity before God. We embrace him, cry with him, and lead him into the healing arms of Jesus. That’s what being a follower of Christ is all about.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.