I have been challenged recently on the topic of compassion. Perhaps we often hear that message, but we know well that the world is filled with indifference, selfish gain and rebellion; where races and nations are divided and poor as well as rich experience life difficulties.
We might boldly say that the reality around us is just as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
These verses give us a pretty good description of what kind of spiritual dynamics can hinder our love towards others, if we do not counter – act the attitudes around us. Thus, it might be sometimes hard to understand how to show compassion to others.
After all, compassion and love are ways to live our lives just as Jesus did and walk in the increased anointing. At times we fail, but when we turn to the Lord in repentance He renews our minds and gives us boldness to be the victorious people. In addition, we can expect the increase of Lord’s blessing when we show compassion to others, in and outside of our community of faith. As long as we show indifference and allow ourselves to be busy with our own “business”, the enemy will keep us in bondage hindering us from moving forward with the Father.
Compassion can be shown in words and deeds as well as intercessory prayer. But how often do we really encourage others, offer a smile and helping hand? Do we visit the sick and speak to the broken and lonely? And do we boldly pray for those who need healing regardless of our differences or internal fears of rejection?
We learn that Jesus was moved with compassion: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt. 9:36
I have noticed that it can be hard in Israel for us to show compassion to those who still do not know the Messiah, in fear that we might be judged or persecuted if we say something or pray in His name. However, even the more joy can come when we do so in such an adverse spiritual climate!
I wanted to share with you one simple testimony. One of those weekends, I have had an opportunity to travel to the North of Israel with my husband, at the border with Lebanon. We stopped in one of the Druze villages, looking for a place to eat. Somehow, we felt in our hearts to visit a small restaurant that we have spotted on the road. Once we sat at the table, immediately, an elderly Druze lady approached us limping on her leg, asking for our order. Something stirred in my heart and I felt that the Lord wanted to touch her.
Now, I have never approached any Druze person in order to pray for them, although I meet some of them where I work and they are incredibly easy to talk to. I am very much aware that their belief system is not only different but forbids “converting” to any other faith. Nevertheless, as felt a strong urge in my heart to pray for that lady we have asked her if she needed healing, and she instantly said yes! She led me to the back of the small kitchen where her family members seated and I had the privilege to lay hands on her and pray in the name of Jesus for healing, restoration and revelation of our Father’s love. Her face instantly lightened with a smile and gratefulness and our hearts were overjoyed as we continued on our journey after leaving the restaurant. We were so grateful to the Father for His prompting in our hearts to pray for this lady, as our Lord the Great Shepherd is beyond race, religion and gender and wants to touch the broken.
Oh, how wonderful it would be if we were always that bold and reach out to others with words of love and restoration in the power of the Holy Spirit! It was Jesus’ wish that we walk in love, also to the members of our believing communities: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Now the challenge remains, that we are to act with love towards others, outside of our comfort zone, time limitations as well as resources (whether they be spiritual or physical). Too often, we shrug our shoulders in indifference or we hurry to another task or meeting without looking carefully around to whom we might show an unconditional love. However, it is when we do actually reach out to others, then our communities will not only grow in numbers, but in joy, in zeal for the Lord and in the power of compassionate prayer.
Showing love and compassion are the ways to bear fruit in God’s Kingdom and follow the example of Jesus. Paul in the letter to Philippians 2: 5-7 wrote: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Practically it means for us: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4
I would like to summarize by asking ourselves a question, which is applicable to every believer regardless of his or her position: are we willing to obey God and come out of our comfort zones in order to show love and compassion? Are we willing to pay the price of scorn or persecution when we do so?
If so, then I believe, we will experience the fullness of the anointing that the Lord has promised to us. Even though we might have small moments of failures, when we chose to continue to follow His example, we will see our communities and societies transformed; in His time and with His great reward waiting for the children, lovers of God, that are also willing to lay down their lives for others, just like Jesus did.