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The Word For Today

Show compassion 2

'The Lord is very compassionate.' James 5:11 NKJV

When it comes to Christlike compassion, the Bible teaches us two more things.

Compassion: (2) Relates to the needs of others. Paul writes, 'Jesus...This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do' (Hebrews 4:14-15 NLT). Jesus understands - how comforting! Whatever situation, challenge, or adversity we find ourselves in, Jesus is saying, 'I can relate. I've been there.' Pressure? Rejection? Pain? Temptation? Slander? Lies? False accusations? He understands because he's been there. (3) Responds to the needs of others. It's not enough just to recognise and relate to the needs of others. You've been called to action on a practical level; otherwise, your compassion is meaningless. Jesus responded to sick people with healing, to hungry people with food, and to lost people with the good news of the Gospel. Compassion has no limits. It sponsors a hungry child, helps change a tyre for someone stranded on the side of the road, brings a meal to someone who's grieving, and listens patiently to someone who needs a friend. Compassion gets its hands dirty; it writes cheques; it sacrifices its own agenda, schedule, desires and dreams to meet the needs of another.

The Bible says: 'God anointed Jesus...with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him' (Acts 10:38 NKJV). What's your main concern in life - looking good or doing good? If you want to be more like Jesus, you know the answer to that question!

Soulfood: Isa 58-62, Matt 13:24-35, Ps 134, Pro 4:5-13


Show compassion 1

'When he saw him, he had compassion.' Luke 10:33 NKJV

Many dictionaries define compassion as sympathy, pity or concern - all emotional responses. But the compassion of Jesus transcends emotion and translates into action.

Christlike compassion: (1) Recognises the needs of others. 'Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others' (Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV). Note the phrase 'better than himself', and then look around you at the people in your life and say to yourself, 'Esteem them better than myself.' If you tend to be self-centred, it will take a while for this concept to sink in. Note also the words, 'look out...for the interests of others'. Sometimes those 'others' are badly messed up and not easy to love. For example, how about people in prison? You say, 'Well, they got what they deserved.' Maybe - but did you always get what you deserved or did you just not get caught? Think about it! When you visit someone sick or in prison, Jesus said you're 'doing it to me' (Matthew 25:40 NLT)! In Luke 23:43, he showed compassion to a convicted criminal on the cross and saved him. You shouldn't pick and choose to whom you'll show compassion!

The Bible says, 'To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty' (Job 6:14 NKJV). Mother Teresa prayed, 'Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, crime or madness, I may recognise you and say, "Jesus, you who suffer, how sweet it is to serve you."'

Soulfood: Luke 19:11-26, Ps 36:5-9, Heb 10:19-23


Practise being kind

'Clothe yourselves with...kindness.' Colossians 3:12 NIV

Since the people we deal with every day notice what we wear, the Bible says, 'Clothe yourselves with...kindness' (Colossians 3:12 NIV). But sometimes kindness is the last thing on our minds. Think about how often you've passed a motorist stranded on the road and didn't stop or even offer to call for help. Or you allowed the business and pressures of work to make you curt and short with others.

We need to be like the young man who worked in the produce section of a supermarket. His first day on the job, a lady approached him, wanting to buy half a head of lettuce. He tried to dissuade her, but she persisted. Finally he said, 'I'll have to go back and talk to the manager.' He walked to the rear of the shop, not realising the woman had followed him. When he found the manager, he said, 'There's a silly old lady out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce. What should I tell her?' Seeing the horrified look on the manager's face, the boy turned around, saw the customer, regrouped, and said in his most gracious voice, 'And this nice lady wants to buy the other half.' Sometimes when you pay someone a compliment, they'll say, 'You're too kind.' But what they really mean is, 'Say it again.'

After Confederate General Robert E. Lee retired from the military, he became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. One day a new student came into his office asking for a copy of the rules and regulations. The old general replied, 'Son, we don't have a rule book. Our only rule is kindness.' So today, practise being kind.

Soulfood: Isa 53-57, Matt 13:10-23, Ps 125, Pro 4:3-4

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