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 profound command found in Ephesians 4:32. The verse doesn’t come with an escape clause. 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 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.”
Living in Ames, it is common to see homeless people standing at certain intersections with a sign asking for food. My wife and I consider ourselves compassionate people, but our fear is that if we give them money, they may not use it for food. They might just use it for alcohol. We certainly don’t want to be enabling a drinking addiction.
This past Christmas, my wife and I came up with a good idea. We put together care packages that included things like, fruit cups, gum, toothbrush, socks, hand warmers, Kleenex, and other basic essentials. We put them in little red bags and my wife and I each took a couple of these bags and put them in our vehicles. The idea was that when we would come upon homeless people in town, we could just give them a bag and know that it would be used for the intended purpose. So far, I have given out 2 bags and, while I can only assume they appreciated them, I know that through showing compassion, it filled my heart with love and joy that spilled out through the rest of each of those days.
When I think about what it means to be compassionate, I think of those care bags, the homeless people, I gave them to, and the many others in similar situations. Helping others is one of the most basic Christian tenets.
I want us to take a minute to ask ourselves the following two questions:
What does the word compassion mean to you?
Why is it important for Christians to show compassion for others?
God’s compassion for us is greater than we can possibly fathom. We need to always remember and be thankful for the gift of salvation that God gave us, even though we did not deserve it. We can reflect our thankfulness to God by being compassionate to those in need around us. They are God’s children also,
Make the decision to give somebody a hand, whether a pat on the back, kind words, or something g more substantial. You’ll never know what it might mean to others.