Most Christians living today would like to think that, like Jesus, they are “moved with compassion.” During his time on earth, Jesus was the embodiment of God’s compassion. Scripture frequently says that Christ was “moved with compassion” by the suffering of people. And if that was the case in the first century, what great grief there must be now in our Lord’s heart.
The Bible tells us, “His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).
Compassion is more than just pity or sympathy; it is more than being moved to tears or stirred up emotionally. And it is more than speaking out about the evil behind horrible crimes. Compassion means pity and mercy accompanied by a desire to help change things. Truly compassionate feelings move us to do something.
This is illustrated by the compassion Jesus showed in the Gospels. At one point he departed into the wilderness to pray. When the multitudes discovered his whereabouts, they followed him and in desperation, they brought him their lame, blind, dying, and demon-possessed. And what did Jesus do? The Bible tells us, “When Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). That is an example of compassion!
Had Jesus been hampered by our modern thinking, he might have gathered his disciples for a committee meeting or tried to analyze the problems. Or he could have said, “I’m very tired and I need to talk to my Father. I feel your pain and the disciples and I will pray for you. Now, go in peace.”
But Jesus did more than talk. His feelings of pity and sympathy moved him into action. He said, “I’ll do all I can to make a difference.”
Let us be careful not to allow our hearts to become callous and inured to the needs of those around us.