Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
It can be difficult to live up to Paul’s command found here in Ephesians 4:32. The verse doesn’t come with an escape clause, even though most of us wish it did. It says to be kind and compassionate and to forgive, but makes no mention of expecting others to return the favor. We should forgive others as God has forgiven each of us.
Frederick Buechner once said, “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you, too.”
Growing up, we did not have a lot of money. I also spent 9 years in college, so I have a good understanding of what it means to be poor and to just have enough money to get by. On the other hand, I have run into so many people who have even less money than I did going through those years. Despite being poor, there was always enough money for all my basic needs to be met. God was very good to me and always gave me enough to fulfill my needs. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for some of the people I have met, especially since 2009 when I really stepped over the faith line. When I have been around these people, I have done what I can to help these people out. I have tried my best to live out Paul’s command of being kind and compassionate to all those around me in need.
When I think about what it means to be compassionate, I think about them and the many others in similar situations. Helping others is one of the most basic Christian tenets. We, as believers, need to always be ready to give someone a hand, whether it is simply a pat on the back or something more substantial. You’ll never know what it might mean to others.
As we think about the word compassion, I want us to ask ourselves two questions:
- What does the word compassion mean to you?
- Why is it important for Christians to show compassion for others?
Compassion can be expressed in so many ways. The act of compassion can be the very simplest thing that requires no money and almost none of your time. Everyone has their own way of showing compassion and how is not as important as doing it.
I think that, as Christians, it is especially important to show compassion to others. We should feel this need because God showed us a level of compassion that we can’t come close to repaying. Showing compassion is an extension that grows out of our intimate relationship and love for God. We should show compassion out of thankfulness rather than out of obligation.
Lord, Your compassion for us is greater than we can fathom. Help us to always be thankful for your grace and Your gift of salvation and to reflect Your compassion to those around us.