Posts Tagged 'Compassion'

Welcoming Outcasts


    Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14: 12-14.)


     In the ancient Jewish culture, when a person was invited to a meal, they were often expected to return the favor the next time they hosted a dinner party.  Not everyone owned a home, and not everyone could afford to feed many guests; therefore only those who were wealthy and affluent would routinely be invited to attend large feasts.  The poor, the lame, the sick, and the blind were routinely overlooked.  Yet Jesus commanded His disciples to invite those who could not reimburse them for their generosity and affection; thus forgoing earthly rewards in favor of eternal riches. Those who have given expecting nothing in return will be rewarded for their selfless actions on the day when the dead are raised to eternal life.

   As a child, every year around a certain holiday, my mother would invite a disabled family that lived in our neighborhood to enter our home and join us in celebration.  They were very poor and everyone in their family had some form of debilitating disorder. They were often mocked and teased by many in our small community; shamefully, I myself, being so young, was slightly embarrassed when they arrived.  Yet as I look back now, I understand the goodness of my mother’s actions.  She was reaching out to those who were outcasts; showing love to those who had been shunned by others. She had chosen to embrace a family who could not repay her for her kindness. And in so doing, she had fulfilled the teachings of Jesus Christ.

     As Christians, our mandate is to love without condition or stipulation. We must show affection for those who are outcasts. We must care for the poor, the lame, the sick and the blind. We must be generous toward those who cannot repay us; and in so doing, we too will fulfill the teachings our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  When we finally enter God’s eternal Kingdom, we will receive the full reward for our acts of selfless love.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, may we love those who are less fortunate.  May we reach out to those who are outcasts; may we embrace the lost and care for those who are suffering.  May we abandon the pursuit of Earthly rewards in favor of heavenly riches.  Fill us with Your Spirit that we might be more like You; thus allowing others to see our good works and glorify Your Holy Name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!



    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.)


    Upon arriving, Jesus observed Mary and Martha weeping over the loss of their brother.  He was immediately filled with compassion and empathy; His heart was grieved and He began weeping with them.  And yet not one of Christ’s tears was shed for Lazarus (whom He would soon raise from the dead.) Instead, Jesus cried because He empathized with those who were mourning.  Concerning compassion, God has no equal; He’s filled with it.  Compassion is defined as “a 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.  He was sweating profusely, and his skin was pale and clammy. His clothes were also old and ragged.  Having witnessed his pain, my heart was moved with compassion.  I promptly sat down and began speaking with him.  He informed me that he was withdrawing from heroine and was very sick.  I took him out to eat and provided him with some clean clothes.  I also ministered to him as best I could.  As his condition worsened, I drove him to the hospital and sat with him in the emergency room for hours; I even accompanied him in to see the doctor.  After being treated he was released.  Before dropping Eric off, I paid for his 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 of a heart infection 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.  Despite his personal gratitude, I reminded Eric 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 act.

     Because Jesus Christ is filled with compassion, His followers are as well.  In turn, He moves human beings to accomplish great acts of kindness and mercy.  The closer we are to God, the more compassion we will feel for those who are hurting.  When someone is struggling, God feels their pain and inspires others to comfort them.  Wherever mercy and love abound, the Spirit of God is at work.  However, where there is indifference and a lack of compassion, there is an absence of Godliness.  There are so many broken people in this world who need to be loved.  May God’s compassion lead us to act; may we feel what God feels; may we see with His eyes; may we be filled with mercy, and may God use us to relieve the suffering of others.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know You and to be filled with Your compassion.  Inspire us; that our hearts may be sensitive to those who are hurting.  Give us the strength to be kind when others are in need. May we love our families, our friends, and even those who are complete strangers.  Use us to express Your merciful benevolence.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Loving Your Neighbor


   “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered him saying: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he looked upon him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and, and took care of him. The next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend when I come next time, I will repay you.’ So, which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 29 – 37.)


    Samaria consisted of a population of pagan individuals dwelling within the borders of the nation of Israel (just north of Jerusalem); as non-Hebrews, they frequently engaged in immoral and idolatrous behaviors; for this reason, they were despised by the religious Israelites. In fact, many orthodox Jews, when traveling, would contemptuously journey around Samaria. After confirming the importance of loving one’s neighbor, Jesus was asked to define what constituted a neighbor. His reply came in the form of a story; in the narrative a man was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road; two religious Jews passed by, yet neither stopped to help (one was a priest and the other a supposed man of God.) Soon however, a Samaritan happened by, and his heart was filled with compassion. Seeking to preserve the man’s life, he gave of his time, his money, and his resources. He showed genuine mercy and astonishing generosity. Many today, like the priest and the Levite, are so concerned with what lies ahead that they fail to stop and assist those who are hurting and in need of assistance.
    Some time ago, during a cross-country meet in Minnesota, a young man named Mark Paulauskas was injured in the first half-mile of a two-mile race. He had been spiked by another runners’ cleats (a wound that would eventually require 20 stitches and a walking boot.) As Paulauskas cried out in agony, most of the other runners passed him by; they were more focused on the finish line than on the pain of a suffering opponent. Yet one individual heard his cries and was filled with compassion. A runner named Josh Ripley willingly abandoned his pursuit of victory so he could stop and help. Without hesitation he picked Mark up and carried him a half-mile back to the starting line. After committing his wounded competitor into the arms of the coaches, Josh Ripley sprinted off into the wilderness again; to complete his race. Although he didn’t win, he obtained a great victory in the eyes of God.
    Our fleshly nature commonly causes us to become so focused on what lies ahead that we ignore those who are right beside us. If we are not careful we can pass right by those who are hurting and ignore the call of God to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves.’ The world can be cold and apathetic; yet in the midst of indifference, there are those who are willing to display great compassion and mercy; they give selflessly; they love unconditionally; they listen to the Spirit of God; they are followers of Jesus Christ; they are Christians.
    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we always show sympathy toward those who are hurting and in need. May we be relieved of indifference and filled with mercy. May nothing ever be more important than genuine compassion, nor greater than Your divine love. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be examples of Your affection in a world that has grown cold and apathetic. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

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