Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Heart: Compassion

"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36, New American Standard Bible).

As an old saying goes, cream rises to the top. I love this, because it means that baristas can create unique designs known as "latte art." These days, there are even competitions on latte art designs and talents.

One characteristic that rises to the top about God, to me, is compassion. In Matthew, chapters 5-9, we can read how Jesus was teaching, preaching and healing. In 9:36, the verse above, Jesus explains that He is the Good Shepherd who is concerned about the livelihood of His sheep. He is referenced as the "Lord GOD," the same way He is mentioned in Ezekiel 34. This Lord GOD is mighty and rules over all, yet He has this stand-out compassion that is more than any I have seen a human have. He sent His Son to die for our sins, as a sacrifice in our place, on the cross. He suffered so we could know Him on an intimate level, so sin wouldn't get in the way with us getting to know God.

This great compassion is seen in how God sees our sins clearly, but He loves us anyway. As His followers, He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and He can help us also have compassion. We may see others' sin, but we realize we've sinned as well. Others need God just as much as we do, and God has the power to transform us from the inside out. God has gone above and beyond to reveal His compassion for us over time.

God can work in our hearts and help us show compassion to those around us. Unbelievers may not know what Jesus is like, and believers may forget form time to time. Let us pray that we will show compassion to others, just like our Savior showed us.

Above study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).