Put On Then . . . Compassionate Hearts
I had always considered this phrase to mean “loving hearts”, as in the trite “love your neighbor” sense of the word. Oh, yes, have compassion for your friends. Care for them. Love them. But this is the Dictionary.com definition of “compassion:
This view of compassion is not just feeling for someone. . . it is deep sympathy and sorrow and includes a strong desire to reduce the suffering.
Compassion goes beyond feeling sorry for our neighbor. Compassion demands that we make things better!
Our status with God causes a change in our hearts.
So I searched for other instances of the word “compassion” in the Bible. Guess who shows compassion?
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Yes, Jesus does. And WHO does he have compassion on? US! He has compassion on the harassed and helpless. He has compassion on the pestering crowd. He has compassion on us, because we daily doubt and turn away. Yet, he has pity on us.
We are called to have compassionate hearts. Hearts that care. Hearts that hurt when others hurt. Hearts that deeply desire to alleviate the pain of our neighbors.
I don’t know about you, but a compassionate heart is not a natural part of me. While I may be willing to take pity on a loved one, I’m not particularly compassionate towards strangers, or adversaries, or those outside of my circles.
And yet, we are called to compassion, which means that I am daily called to repentance for my hardened heart. And I pray to God to give me a compassionate heart so that I can serve Him more fully.
Have you prayed for a “compassionate heart”? What is an example of compassion that you have seen recently?