I’ve had an elliptical machine in my basement for years, and it does some pretty cool things. If you hold the handles, it updates you on your pulse every minute or so. It tells you how fast you’re going, how many minutes you’ve been exercising, how far you’ve gone, and how many calories you’ve burned. The couple times I’ve actually used it, it was a great workout.
It has the ability to do all these things…..if you actually use it. And that’s a big IF! Right now, all I use it for is to hang clothes on to air dry! It’s not exactly fulfilling its intended purpose.
Simply put, compassion is the feeling of sympathy and concern for the misfortunes of others.
Compassion is a feeling. An emotion. It’s a noble emotion we should all strive to have more of, but it’s an emotion nonetheless.
Exodus 34:6 calls God the God of compassion. Over and over the gospels say of Jesus “He was moved with compassion.” The writers of the New Testament books encouraged us to have compassion. Exhorted us to show compassion just as God shows compassion.
Compassion isn’t just something to be felt. We’re not just supposed to have it like I do an elliptical that sits dusty in my basement with clothes hanging on it. Compassion has a purpose.
What is your compassion doing?
Compassion without action is just an emotion. Compassion turned into action, however, can be a powerful force of love and change.
It’s not just enough to feel it. We’re supposed to show it.
Compassion should move us.
It moved Jesus to pray and heal and teach.
It moved the good Samaritan to go out of his way to help the injured man.
It was right there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
It was compassion that brought Jesus from heaven to earth as a baby – compassion for us in our lost and helpless state. It guided and guarded and motivated Him as He lived 33 sinless and spotless years as a man. And it was that same compassion that caused Him to lay His life down for us so willingly.
So where is our compassion?
There are a myriad of reasons we don’t act on our compassion. Maybe the noise and busyness of day-to-day life have distracted us from the helplessness of the world around us.
Maybe we feel that since we can’t do everything….since we can’t do something BIG about it…..we won’t do anything. We devalue the part we can play and think it’s too small so we don’t do anything at all.
Maybe, and I think this applies to most of us, we fall into the category of people who block it out because it hurts too much.
It’s everywhere. It’s on Facebook as we scroll down. It’s is all over the news. Destruction. The slave trade. Natural disasters. School shootings. Senseless killings. Things so painful and shocking and traumatic. Sometimes after Mikel watches the news, my question is, “Was there any good news?” And sadly the answer is almost always no.
Looking at the tragedy and suffering and devastation of those around us can be overwhelming. Heart wrenching. It can hurt our hearts so much we want to sink into a puddle of tears. We feel deeply, and since the pain is so huge, we choose to block it out because we’re afraid of it or don’t know how to handle it or what to do with it.
The bottom line is this – just having an elliptical doesn’t help me. It’s using it that changes me. We’re not supposed to just have compassion. We’re supposed to use it. Do something with it.
We’re supposed to BE compassionate just as He is compassionate.
Let’s not allow our compassion to be like my elliptical…..gathering dust and useless.
Let’s underwhelm our schedule so we can take the time to feel it.
Let’s stop devaluing what we can do, however small and insignificant it may seem to us. Every action matters. We can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. Pray. Give. Speak a kind word. When everyone does their little part, it all gets done.
And let’s open our hearts to feel it. Don’t block it out when it overwhelms your heart. Instead, take it to Him and see what He can do about it through you. He can use you in ways you’ve never dreamed of.
When we turn our compassion into action, He’ll take it and work it into something beautiful. You’ll be somebody’s miracle. Someone’s answer to prayer. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling that floods your heart when He uses you to bring freedom to someone else.