Many of us are familiar with the story of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:30-37 where a Priest passed by a man badly beaten on the road and did nothing, a Levite passed him by and did nothing, and finally a certain Samaritan came upon him and showed him compassion by binding up his wounds, putting him on his animal, took him to an inn, where he took care of him overnight and even left money for the innkeeper to continue to help him until he was better. Then Jesus asks the question “Which of these three, do YOU think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Funny how all three men “saw him”, but only one acted upon what he saw and moved with compassion.
The word Compassion by definition is “sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others”. Wow! That can sound like a tall order when you think of all the suffering and misfortune in the world, especially now, during this unprecedented time of enduring a worldwide pandemic. Still, Jesus is asking us to “love your neighbor as yourself” and many times we are trying to justify our lack of action by asking back “who is my neighbor”?
Our self-dependent culture has made us callous to look upon one another’s needs. We have replaced looking out among ourselves with looking down at our devices. It’s even worse during this pandemic as our public directives are to stay away from each other and don’t touch. Being compassionate can be messy, inconvenient, it may cost us time, energy or money. Jesus is asking us to soften our hearts to one another, to complete strangers at times, and stretch ourselves beyond our boundaries and love our neighbors as ourselves. Compassion doesn’t always require a “hand out”, sometimes a “hand up” is all they need to restore hope and press on.
Can you imagine if EVERYONE helped take care of SOMEONE, by reaching down and lifting them up in some way, how much suffering and misfortune we could actually relieve and how much Jesus they would see? Let’s be his hands, his feet, and see with his eyes the people who are suffering and misfortunate and act with compassion.
ACTION STEP: Become intentionally aware of who God puts in your path. Ask Him to open your eyes, to “see” the needs of others around you, and how you can help them. No matter how small or how big the situation, ask him to show you what you can do to best represent Jesus to those in need.
PRAYER: Lord, I’m thankful you saw me in my time of need and revealed your love and compassion through Jesus, who saved me. Let people around me, and those you put in my path, see Jesus in me. Open my eyes to see people and my heart to live compassionately, as the Good Samaritan, not holding back for myself, but freely extending a hand to the hurting, the misfortunate, and to those who are suffering. In Jesus name, Amen!