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The Compassion of Jesus

When I give it a bit of thought, I am in awe of the compassion of Jesus.

I barely have compassion on the sweet old lady driving 40 miles below the speed limit on the on-ramp when I’m going somewhere. Don’t lie. I know you’re there with me.

A dozen or so years ago, I ran into a man about my age who was looking for temporary work to help him get back home. I had a project at home and needed help, so I offered him $20 an hour with water and meals to help me until he had enough money to get home or we completed the job. The compassion I felt so strongly melted into contempt when he mocked and declined the offer.

Or, did I tell you about the person who beat me to the express lane at HEB with 37 items? I counted. I’m sure you can guess how high the needle rose on my compassion meter.

The compassion of Jesus is different though.

Jesus had compassion on and healed guys like the man born blind (John 9) and the leper (Matthew 8). Compassion moved Jesus to be clear about how to treat and care for children (Mark 10). The widow’s son was brought back to life (Luke 7), a woman caught in adultery was saved from being stoned to death (John 8), and arrangements were made for the care of His mother (John 19) because of the compassion of Jesus.

His compassion extended to tax collectors (Matthew), people with anger issues (James), doubters (Thomas), know-it-alls (Peter), those who persecuted His followers (Paul), and even those who would betray him (Judas).

Why do we struggle with offering compassion?

I do well with compassion as long as you aren’t an inconvenience. My compassion is freely available until you insult me. The threads of my compassion are so easily unraveled when someone is inconsiderate. I am quick to determine when and why you are guilty and that you do not deserve my compassion.

Jesus’ compassion, however, was never tethered to a person’s guilt or merit. Innocence was never a prerequisite for His compassion. 

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loyal love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Grace to you,

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