Be moved with compassion


“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).

Whenever Jesus was moved with compassion, He did something miraculous. We see this truth in the Gospels -- compassion moved the Master to perform the miraculous. For example, we read in Luke 7:12-15, “Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and many people of the city were with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, ‘Weep not.’ And He came and touched the coffin: and they that bore him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say unto you, Arise.’ And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother.”

It says, “when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her.” What Jesus saw compelled Him to action.

Our understanding of compassion will affect how we allow the Holy Spirit to move through us to help others. Compassion is not just sympathy. In simple terms, sympathy means “to feel sorry for” someone. Compassion is not empathy, which carries the idea of “to feel with.” We see this in Galatians 6:2 and Romans 12:15. In these verses, Paul talks about bearing one another’s burdens, or weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. This is empathy and it is good in its proper place, but it will not bring the miraculous help needed. Unlike sympathy and empathy, compassion inspires us to take action.

The Bible defines the meaning of compassion in several ways. We are to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves -- defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). We do this by taking action instead of just talking about helping others: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

Jesus Christ is the greatest example of someone with true compassion. Not only did Jesus have compassion and heal people from physical suffering, He also showed the greatest compassion for mankind when He died on the cross for our sins.

As God’s ambassadors on earth, we need to love people. Compassion has nothing to do with personal preference. It’s not always easy to show compassion, especially when we feel like the person deserves their misfortune. We need to move past that and get to the heart of Jesus. He died for all people. Let’s be moved with compassion and make ourselves available to the Spirit of God on behalf of others and expect God to do the miraculous!