“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40). Do you need any additional rationale for embracing compassion? When you care for those who suffer, you minister to the Lord, Himself! In Matt 10:42, Jesus states this same message slightly differently. “And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” Jesus calls us to be compassionate to our fellow man. We must follow Jesus’s way in which He demonstrated compassion during His time on earth.
Embracing Compassion – Stepping into the Suffering
As humans, we are, by nature, social beings, meant to live in communion with each other. Therefore, Christ calls us to empathize with those in need. We are strengthened by Christ’s grace to step into the sphere of suffering of those in need; to alleviate the suffering in any way that we can. Sometimes it is as simple as providing a listening ear, or a promise to pray for the person. At other times, the degree of compassion called for is quite intense. Yet, God never asks us to take on more than we can handle with His grace. So why is embracing compassion so difficult for some people?
What happens When We Fail to Embrace Compassion
We can go back to the summer of 2014. Let’s look at the humanitarian aid crisis that occurred at the southern border of the United States. So many people were sending their children across Mexico, into America, to flee violence and poverty in Central American countries. Where was the compassion in those Americans, who shouted slurs at children? Rather than embracing compassion, they turned their backs on these small children. I believe it is difficult for people like this to embrace compassion because of the fears, doubts and past hurts that override their consciences. They cannot step into the sphere of suffering, to alleviate the suffering of another, without passing judgment. They, themselves, need our compassion.
When you come across a person who lacks compassion, step into the sphere of their suffering, without passing judgment, and pray for that person. By doing so, you will be embracing compassion. When you see someone suffering from illness, pain and life’s struggles surround them with your compassion. By doing so, you will live up to Jesus’ exhortation to care the the least brother’s of Jesus.
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