“He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. “ Psalm 111:4 (NKJV)
“But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart. I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother. “ Psalm 35:13-14 (NKJV)
Compassion is having a sense of concern over another person’s need or pain. It includes pity, sympathy, and empathy. Our Lord Jesus was, and will always be, full of compassion. Psalm 111:4 states that He was gracious and full of compassion.
When I think of the word ‘full’, the image of a watering can comes to my mind. It has been filled to the brim with fresh rainwater. Eagerly, it waits for the gardener’s hand, anxious to help provide drinks to thirsty and needy plants.
After Lazarus died, Jesus went to visit his tomb. Upon arriving, he spoke with the dead man’s sisters, Mary and Martha. He felt their pain and was filled with compassion over their grief. John 11:35 writes that Jesus wept. Our Savior was well acquainted with grief.
Back then, professional mourners were often hired to wail and make public displays of grief. Unlike today (and in our culture), people were given freedom to loudly voice their sorrow and were not hushed into silence, or expected to carry on stoically. Friends and neighbors would wear sackcloth and rip their clothes as a sign of compassion, sharing in the grief.
In Hebrews 5:2, we learn what calls for compassion and why we should offer it to others. “He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.” You see we all have weak areas that cause us to struggle and stumble. None of are above the affects of temptation or sin.
Therefore, we are not to judge those who are wrestling with their demons. Rather, we need to remember our own frailty and help our brothers and sisters by spurring them on to victory. A heart full of compassion and encouragement can do much good.
Another time to share our compassion is when illness strikes. There are so many cases of chronic pain, depression, cancer, and debilitating conditions. Illness befalls the young and the old and has no favorites. It is relentless and has a reach beyond measure.
Having faced the trauma of a brain tumor, I know first hand the importance of having loved ones nearby to spur me on to recovery. When I was overwhelmed, kind words of compassion, small thoughtful gifts, loving hugs, and hand written cards were often the boost I needed to take another step forward in my healing.
Today let me encourage you to sharpen your love for others by developing a deeper sense of compassion.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (NKJV)
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. “ Luke 10:33 (NKJV)
“So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4 (NKJV)