Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Passion for Compassion

By Sam Nobles
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 9:36 ESV

Compassion is your pain in my heart. Jesus knew all about this. Perhaps this is why the Bible calls Jesus the Man of Sorrows. He was no stranger to taking the pain of people into His own heart. The irony though is found in Hebrews 1:9 which tells us that Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. How could He be the Man of Sorrows and yet anointed with the oil of gladness at the same time?

These are two qualities that seem contradictory—until we remember the words Jesus taught, “Blessed, or happy, are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). One of the keys of happiness is to allow sorrow to penetrate your heart.

“Comfort” is an old English word containing the same root as that of the word “fortify.” In other words, Jesus is saying that the one who mourns will also be the one who is fortified. In the Garden of Gethsemane, so deeply was Jesus mourning that blood flowed from His forehead. And yet Luke tells us that even as He was agonizing in prayer, an angel came and comforted, sustained, and fortified Him (Luke 22:43-44).

When is the last time you have been at the place of being pained in prayer for someone else’s problem, someone else’s sin? Could it be that I am not comforted because I am not doing what Jesus did? Blessed are they who mourn, who plunge into life and feel the pain of life. They shall be comforted.

Are you unhappy? Do you feel comfortless? Take seriously what Jesus said. It’s an irony. It’s a mystery. It runs crosscurrent to the thinking of our society. Yet a key to happiness is to mourn for others, to carry someone else’s pain in your heart.

Scripture to Claim:

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:7 ESV)

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