America is deeply divided politically, racially, socially and spiritually. We disagree with each other on a myriad of topics and really don’t trust each other to even come to the table to discuss what divides us. What many people from all walks of life are beginning to realize is that what is wrong with America is moral and spiritual. People are beginning to see that it’s going to take more than just money and hopeful thinking to rebuild our cities, schools, homes, families and marriages. Many Christian leaders believe it’s going to take a radical renewal of compassion in the hearts of those who belong to God to start the change that needs to take place.

Leviticus 19:18; Mark 1:40-42; Luke 10:30-37; Luke 15:20; Acts 10:38

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37

Compassion means to suffer with another person. The word has a strong personal element and means more than just feeling sorry for somebody. It means to get down where they are in the midst of their need and to suffer with them in their pain. Compassion is more than just an emotion. It’s more than feeling sorry for people in need. Biblical compassion means that you become aware of the problem and you’re moved by the need and then you go out to where the problem is. You get your hands dirty trying to help one person after another solve their problems. You try to raise them up to a higher level of life than when you found them. We see this over and over in the life of Jesus. Scripture tells us that Jesus had compassion on the great crowds who followed him. As many as 4,000 men one time and 5,000 another time. These numbers are only for the men and not women and children which would make the numbers even larger. He healed the sick and then fed the people. When Jesus saw the two blind men of Jericho, he was filled with compassion and healed them on the spot. For Jesus, compassion wasn’t just a feeling; it was a commitment to get involved with hurting people. Real compassion is more than a feeling or an emotion. It starts there but then moves from feeling to action.

Would your best friend describe you as a compassionate person? Who is the most compassionate person you know? How did your parents model compassion for you? Is your biggest obstacle to compassion money or time? Do you think churches are more compassionate now or in the past? Why? Do you believe there’s something called “compassion” fatigue? When was the last time you got “burned” as a result of a compassionate action on your part? Do you count the cost when it comes to compassion or do you throw caution to the wind? Explain this quote from Edward Hale: “I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Ask God to give you a bigger heart of compassion in 2018. Look for opportunities where you can put into practice what he teaches you about compassion. Then, one life at a time, love those in need with the love of Jesus and let that love move you to action.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your compassion toward all people including me. The Bible reveals how compassionate you were to people in need and I’m grateful for this insight into your loving heart. Lord, please enlarge my heart so that I might have more compassion for hurting people all around me. I want to be used by you as an instrument of your grace wherever you lead me. Please help me to make a godly difference in people’s lives this year. I trust you to help me not let anything interfere with that. I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen