“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.” Luke 10:33
Compassion hurts. It causes us to feel. To stop thinking about ourselves. Our schedules. Our responsibilities. It puts our self-focused preoccupations on the back burner so we can see the face and tears and the pain before us. Their tears and pain become our own.
I believe compassion drives us to the heart of Jesus. I’ve experienced it the past few days. A phone call on Saturday about a dearly loved brother-in-law’s sister who took her own life. An email on Sunday about a dearly loved family in our church whose precious son was placed on hospice care. And then the news on Monday that our own brother in Christ and friend, Tim Klibbe, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.
My heart, all of our hearts, ache with compassion toward the family and close friends of these dear people. Our hearts are burdened and broken over the pain they are experiencing. Compassion hurts. And compassion heals.
But if I’m honest, it’s not too difficult to feel and extend compassion to people I dearly love. But what about the stranger? The outcast? The neighbor I’ve never talked to? The person I pass by on the street? I don’t want that hurt. Yes, I’ll have compassion ready for those I love when, in their darkest hours, they need compassion the most. But I don’t want to choose it. I don’t want to seek it out.
But Jesus pursued me with his compassion. His heart beckons me to do the same.
As you listen to this old song by Phillips, Craig & Dean called Mercy Came Running, think about the ways Jesus has extended mercy and compassion toward you. Take a moment to pray about how He might spur you on to do the same for a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger today.
By Ellen Rosenberger