There are a lot of troubling things in the news these days. I guess it has always been that way. Wars, famine, natural disasters, injustice, crime. It can be easy to not pay much attention, to think it is someone else’s problem. To be wrapped up in our own concerns.
I think most of us agree that Jesus is compassionate. The gospels are full of accounts of Jesus not just feeling sorrowful for someone – but actually doing something about it. He fed people, healed people, listened, cared for them, and loved them. The sick, the hungry, the foreigner, the sinner. I think it would also make sense as His followers that He would want us to have compassion as well.
In Matthew 25:35-36 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
My compassion grows as I think beyond myself. Some simple things that have helped me grow in compassion over the years are:
Prayer – asking God to help me care and love people, to want to help.
Reading – Historical fiction and the news have helped me grow in compassion. When I read stories of the things people have suffered, my eyes and heart have opened up to new levels of understanding. Not wanting horrible things that have happened in the past to happen again moves me to action.
Exposure – getting to know people who are different than me, hearing their stories first hand. Seeing their challenges. Their hopes and dreams and struggles become real.
Compassion in Action
When we truly have compassion, we should be moved to do something, like the Good Samaritan. He didn’t just see the injured man and simply feel bad for him, he did something. He cared for him and brought him to an inn for healing and help. When we see a problem that seems huge, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some things that we can do.
Prayer – ask the God of the Universe to do something big, and ask Him to give you wisdom as to what you might be able to do.
Give – often there are reputable organizations that are already involved. Is there a way you can donate some money? Every bit helps.
Educate – spread the word, bring awareness to the issue. Please make sure you use factual, verified information.
Call – is there a politician you can call to respectfully express your opinion and concern?
Go – sometimes we can do something. We can speak up, help out, listen, pitch in and help.
My prayer is that I would continue to grow in my love of God and my neighbor. That I would not be so concerned with my own comfort and safety that I cease to care about the well being of others. I am especially reminded of this as we hear about the difficulties that people are facing as they approach our southern border. Let us not forget that Jesus and his parents were refugees once as well.
Romans 13: 9b & 10 “and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”