Luke 7:13 – And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
How easy it is to quickly read over the verse above and lose sight of the depth and width of its words. “he had compassion on her”. At first glance it seems to fall into the category of normality as we understand it in the Christian context. Of course He had compassion on her, she is distraught, she is a widow who has lost her son, she is grieving and of course; He is Jesus – compassion makes perfect sense here.
However in reality this kind of compassion is very different than what we are used to. This kind of compassion is wrapped in rescue and redemption and restoration.
Our human compassion is often times rooted in the emotions of empathy and sympathy. It is our ability to walk a mile in another’s shoes. To see things from their perspective and feel for their circumstance. Our modern dictionary definition is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
However we clearly see the kind of compassion that Jesus had for her was completely rooted in action. It was motivated by solution, by resolution. His compassion compelled Him forward into a proactive response. He not only had a desire to alleviate the grief of the widow, He also had the motivation matched with the power of the Holy Spirit to go beyond alleviating suffering – but to go as far as removing it all together. Even beyond that to the point of transforming grief into celebration and lives changed and God glorified!
Are we willing to stop short in our compassion and be merely well-wishers as we look across the landscape of our world at the current state of suffering? Or, are we willing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to compel us forward into action? Compassion stands ready to be redefined in our lives today. It can no longer be simply an emotion, but it must be an ongoing action. Compassion felt only in the heart of the onlooker but never imprinted in the life of the suffering is of no use to the Kingdom of God or the world for that matter.
How will you redefine compassion through action today?
Praise: Thank you Lord for your Holy Spirit that brings clarity to truth and compels us to allow your compassion to equal true impact in the lives of others.
Confess: Father, I have held back and resisted at times when you have filled my heart with true compassion. I have declined action and chosen emotion only, preferring comfort over obedience.
Request: This kind of compassion scares me Lord. I can only achieve it with the power of your Holy Spirit. Please fill me with your Spirit and strengthen me unto compassion defined by action.