“And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them.” (Matt. 15:30) Most people like to envision themselves as compassionate people, but in reality they are far from it, they will exhibit compassion when it does not interfere with what they have planned for the day, when it is not an inconvenience to them.
I ask you to contemplate this, these that the Lord healed, how much service was offered to the Lord of their lives after they were healed, or was the healing of their flesh, their current malady their only concern. If you are sick, because of the inability of the flesh to perform at its fullest, we are unable to do that which has been laid before us, we must be healed to continue in it, but wouldn’t the Lord be aware of that, can we be blamed when we are ill if the work is not continued?
Here is where compassion becomes more than words, more than a pat on the back and a “How are you feeling,” compassion does for those who cannot do for themselves. It is called self-sacrifice, and it is never an inconvenience.
The continuation of life and the lack of any adverse conditions during it seems to be the priority of most people, they want to stay alive, and they don’t want to get sick, become ill, or suffer any physical ailments, this much can be shown as truth by the opening verse in this letter. “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21) That is not compassion, that is a self-centered desire to keep things as they are. Compassion lowers your friend down through the roof of the house, (Mark 2:4) it relays the message back to John while he is in prison, (Matt. 11:3-7) it comes to earth in a bodily form to die on a cross.
Compassion does not know the word inconvenienced; it desires nothing more than the welfare of the individual that is hurting. Compassion is an act of love, not the feeling of it. “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” (Luke 11:8) Far too many today believe that there should be some form of projected happiness in this compassion that they are to exhibit, that they should express a positive outlook when being compassionate, not so with that verse. Travelers had arrived, the neighbor wanted to “borrow” some bread, but the one behind the door had already gone to bed, he did not want to be inconvenienced, but he rose up, and answered the door, and showed compassion. The action of compassion is what the Lord judges, not the thought of it or the emotional context when it is accomplished, the account of the traveling man in Luke 10:30-37 is proof of this.
He went out of his way to show compassion.
We are to remember those who are in prison, those who are mistreated (Heb. 13:3) as though we were there with them, we are to act compassionately towards those we do not even know, how much more than those we call friends and family, how much more those we can see hurting. It is quite easy to see through the veil, to see the feigned attempts by some when it comes to being compassionate, they will offer assistance when it does not interfere with their plans for the day, when it is not an inconvenience to them.
If we have been commanded to love our enemies, (Matt. 5:44) how much more should we be expected to act on behalf of those we call our brothers and sisters in Christ?
I fear that most people do not really know what compassion means, they understand the context of the word, but the application of it is foreign to them, they may skirt around the edges of it, perhaps performing it when it does not interfere with their plans for the day, but they do not understand self-sacrifice in this area. It is not possible to love your neighbor if you do not offer compassion to them, without it, it is just words, and that is all compassion is to most people.