Compassion isn't a natural instinct. It's an attitude with corresponding behaviors that must be learned.
Jesus' disciples shared fallen humanity's default pattern of selfishness, pride, narcissism. He knew it when He called them, but neither overlooked it nor left it be. He both modeled compassion and forced them to practice it.
When He said of the 5,000, "You give them something to eat," he meant it literally: "You take a basket and serve people. You bow low so those seated on the ground can reach inside. You pick up the leftover crumbs. You eat last."
This must have been a posture to which they were very unaccustomed, but it was good for their spiritual muscles to be stretched. It served them well as leaders of the first church (see Acts 6:1-7).
Compassion is hard for humans because it's a god-like characteristic (Exodus 34:6-7). We welcome it when it's shown toward us because we know we're so undeserving. We stand in awe of God's grace because we know without it we would never be saved. Still, we can be so stingy with it.
Yet it is for the very purpose of showing compassion to others that we are saved! He wants us to imitate Him, but we must admit that without His help learning compassion is impossible?
Pro-life ministries are excellent vehicles for displaying God's wonderful compassion. They serve the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Pregnancy care centers (PCCs) “suffer alongside” those caught in the web of sexual immorality, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion. LIFT volunteers “suffer alongside” the dying and chronically ill.
Meanwhile, what the world offers -- abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia -- is often made to look like compassion, but they are counterfeit solutions that lead to death.
Download the latest copy-ready Life Matters bulletin insert to share with your church family: Practicing Compassion.