In this series on the Qualities of Christ, we have looked at and studied two different topics that each one of us should have. Those two are grace and mercy. We have discussed the difference between the two and how they go hand in hand. For the third and final article in this series, we will be discussing another similar quality of Christ. The quality of compassion and the ability to show it towards others. I believe this is one of the biggest reasons that Jesus died on the cross for all mankind. He had compassion for us all, and it is something that we all should show as well. So let us begin the study on compassion.
First, let’s get a good definition on compassion. Compassion can be defined as: “A sympathetic or sorrowful feeling towards another.” In other words, we feel sorry for this person, and/or we want to help them, therefore we have compassion on them. Compassion can be shown by words or actions. So now let’s look at how Jesus showed compassion towards others.
In Matthew 15:32 it states, “Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”” Here Jesus directly says that he has compassion for these people who have been following him around for three days. He does not want to let them go hungry, so he feeds the four thousand of them with seven loaves and a few small fish. Another example would be in Luke 7:13 when a widow is carrying her dead son out of the city and Jesus sees her. Verse 13 says, “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”” Some versions might say “He felt compassion” or “He had compassion”. Either way he had compassion on this widow, and as the story goes he raises up her son from the dead. Jesus was showing us that no one is to be rejected and that we should have compassion for everyone.
There are many other examples of Jesus showing compassion for the people, like in Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, and Matthew 20:34. In all of these examples, there is an action that Jesus shows to support his feeling of compassion. Whether it is teaching them something, feeding them, or healing their sick, something is always done to show that Christ had compassion on those that he said he did, and we should do the same. If we are to follow in his footsteps, (1 Peter 2:21) then we must do those things that Christ did.
But showing compassion is not just feeling sorry for them. Ephesians 4:32 says this, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” To show compassion, we must be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving. Notice how all of these are actions. Being kind, forgiving someone, these portray an action to be done. It also shows the person that we care enough about them to be kind to them and to forgive them, because you can’t have true compassion without truly caring for someone.
Another quality of Christ’s compassion, is the fact that it is everlasting. Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” God will never leave you nor forsake you- Deuteronomy 31:6. Since God never stops having compassion for us, we must never stop having compassion for others.
This has been a delightful study to dive into. We have learned about Christ’s grace, mercy, and compassion for others. We have learned how grace and mercy are different, yet intertwined at the same time. Let us never forget that in all things that we do, we must do them like Christ. Remember the message of Peter in 1 Peter 2:21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”