And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”  As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”  Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.  And He said, “Where have you laid him?”  They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”  And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” (John 11: 28-37.)


                Many days earlier, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus had taken ill and was in grave danger.  Despite his great love for Mary and her family, Jesus did not set out for Bethany until Lazarus had been dead for four days; (he purposefully allowed Lazarus to die so he could raise him from the dead.)  When Jesus arrived Mary and Martha were weeping over the loss of their brother.  Jesus was filled with compassion and empathy; his heart was grieved and he began to weep with them.  His tears were not shed for Lazarus (for he knew that he would soon be resurrected); instead, Jesus cried because he shared the pain of those who mourned.  Concerning compassion, God has no equal; He is filled with it.  Compassion is defined asa feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate their suffering.”

                One day I happened by a man named Eric.  He was sitting outside of a coffee shop, slouching in a chair; he looked more dead than alive.  His skin was pale and clammy and he was sweating profusely.  His clothes were ragged and he badly needed a shower.  I saw his pain and my heart was moved with compassion.  I sat down and began to talk with him.  He informed me that he was withdrawing from heroine and was very sick.  I took him out to eat and gave him some clean clothes.  I also spent some time ministering to him.  Later, as his condition worsened, I took him to the hospital.  I sat with him in the emergency room for hours; I accompanied him in to see the doctor.  He was treated and released.  Before dropping Eric off, I bought him his needed prescription, and made sure he had enough food for the evening.  Nearly a year later, Eric showed up at the coffee shop to say hello.  He told me that after our interaction, he had nearly died and was hospitalized for an extended period of time.  He thanked me for my efforts, and said that without my assistance, he might not be alive.  He was grateful that (“even when his friends had abandoned him”) someone had cared enough to help.  Although Eric thanked me, I reminded him that it was God who deserved the credit; for it was God who had filled my heart with compassion; and in turn; it was the Lord who had moved me to action.  Without God’s Spirit, mercy, and love, I would have kept walking, just like everyone else.

                Jesus Christ is filled with compassion; his followers share his emotions, concerns, and cares.  In turn, he moves human beings to great acts of kindness and mercy.  The closer to God we grow, the more compassion we feel for those who are hurting.  God carries the wounds of the world around with Him every day.   When a person is beaten, the Lord feels every strike.  When someone is sick, our Father feels their pain.  When an individual is hurting, God inspires others to comfort them.  Wherever mercy and love abound, the Spirit of God is at work.  Where there is indifference and a lack of compassion, there is an absence of God within the human heart.  There are so many broken people in this world who need to be loved; the Godless and indifferent pass by the afflicted without stopping to consider them; yet there are many who are compelled by the Holy Spirit to act.  May God’s compassion lead you to action; may you feel what God feels; may you see with His eyes; may you be filled with mercy, and may God use you to relieve the suffering of others.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know You and to be filled with compassion.  Inspire us, that our hearts may be sensitive to those who are hurting.  Give us the strength to be kind to those who are in need.  May we love our families, our friends, and even our fellows.  May we be used to express Your mercy to those who need to know that there is a God who loves them.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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