Having compassion is essential for living a powerful missional life. Without compassion it is truly isn't possible to share Jesus! Why? Because Jesus embodies compassion! He is the personification of compassion! If you are not compassionate you cannot fully represent Jesus to a lost and dying world. The message of Christ and the Heart of Christ must go hand in hand.
From the story of the Good Samaritan we can learn 3 essential activities to express compassion. First let's read the story and then I will share with you these 3 activities.
"In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37 (NIV)
First Activity: SEE:
The first thing that you need to do before you can truly show compassion on someone who is in need is to look and see the person in need. All three of the men walking by saw the man who had been robed and beaten. They saw his trouble and difficulty. But I fear that in todays world we can go through an entire day never really seeing those around us who are in suffering and pain. I fear that we can actually walk by people who have given up on life and are barely existing and never see them or even know they are there because we are too wrapped up in our own little life. How can you show compassion for someone if you aren't looking to see if people are hurting? THE FIRST STEP IS TO LOOK & SEE!
Second Activity: STOP:
While seeing is the first step it does absolutely no good if we aren't willing to stop and inquire about the other person and how they are doing. If you see and keep walking by you accomplish nothing except for developing an even harder heart. To stop means to check on the person, talk to the person, asking them if they are ok, inquiring and evaluating on what you learn. When the Good Samaritan stop he discovered the man was naked, beaten and bleeding. He needed medical attention. He needed someone to come alongside him and do for him what he was unable to do for himself. When we stop we are discovering what the needs of the person truly is. THE SECOND ACTIVITY IS TO STOP & EVALUATE.
Third Activity: SERVE:
Once you've seen and stopped if you truly want to be compassionate you will need to then serve the person in need. You will have to alter you planned activities in order to help this person you have discovered in need. If don't believe it was in the plans of that Samaritan to pickup a stranger, nurse him, take him to an inn and pay for his medical care. But that's how the story goes that Jesus told. To truly show compassion to person in need you will have to serve them and serving them will cost you. It will cost you time, money, and emotional energy. It will mean you will have to put on hold other things you have planned to help this stranger. THE THIRD ACTIVITY IS TO SERVE & GIVE!
When God's people can truly learn to show this kind of compassion for all people and not just those we like then the Light of Christ will truly shine brighter than ever in this spiritually dark world. When we can show this compassion then the people of the world will want to know about our relationship with God because we will have proven to them how much they mean to us.
You see most people could care less how much you know - until they know how much you care. This kind of compassion proves you care!