How have you shown compassion to someone you didn’t know? It doesn’t have to be huge. Have you helped someone carry groceries? Paid for someone’s lunch when her debit card was declined? Listened to someone’s struggles while sitting on a plane or in a doctor’s office?
Compassion is sincere. To share a burden or to sympathize with someone isn’t motivated by guilt or obligation. It’s a tug into action, rooted in love, consideration and kindness.
When do you avert your eyes from a need? Who do you pass by? Consider any groups of people or situations you consistently avoid.
Need help? Consider the following:
- Roadside beggars
- Drug addicts
- Foreign missions
- Single moms
- Door-to-door solicitors
- Donation solicitor
What are some reasons for avoiding people?
There are certainly some safety issues we must consider. If you’re walking alone in the mall parking lot and are pursued by a man asking to use your phone to call for help, you should immediately move toward a populated area.
But I wonder how often we rationalize not showing compassion because of an exception, not a rule. How often do we assume we know someone’s motives, and we don’t want to be taken advantage of, so we pass by?
Jesus answered, “As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, some robbers attacked him. They tore off his clothes, beat him, and left him lying there, almost dead. It happened that a priest was going down that road. When he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Next, a Levite came there, and after he went over and looked at the man, he walked by on the other side of the road. Then a Samaritan traveling down the road came to where the hurt man was. When he saw the man, he felt very sorry for him. The Samaritan went to him, poured olive oil and wine on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he put the hurt man on his own donkey and took him to an inn where he cared for him. The next day, the Samaritan brought out two coins, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of this man. If you spend more money on him, I will pay it back to you when I come again.’”
Then Jesus said, “Which one of these three men do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers?”
The expert on the law answered, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Then go and do what he did.” Luke 10:30-37
Consider this happening in today’s world. Picture the roadside where you might see this man and what your reaction might be when you encounter him? What are your assumptions, and how do they determine your response?
What happens when we assume we know someone’s past, motives, etc.?
Isn’t it funny, when the other fellow takes a long time to do something, he’s slow. When I take a long time to do something, I’m thorough. When the other fellow doesn’t do it, he’s lazy. When I don’t do it, I’m busy. When the other fellow does it without being told, he’s overstepping his bounds. When I go ahead and do it without being told, that’s initiative. When the other fellow states his opinion strongly, he’s bullheaded. When I state my opinion strongly, I’m firm. When the other fellow overlooks a few rules of etiquette, he’s rude. Tom Knight, quoted by Charles McHarry, New York Daily News
Brothers and sisters, do not tell evil lies about each other. If you speak against your fellow believers or judge them, you are judging and speaking against the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are no longer a follower of the law. You have become a judge. James 4:11
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(Compassion is the second in a series of five blog posts circulating in blogosphere this month. All five blogs posts are adapted from the Pure Purpose Bible study. If you’re a blogger interested in future blog tours, contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org)