Compassion for the human condition is one of the most important aspects of living an authentic Christian life. There are certainly other elements to this formula but there must be real compassion, true compassion for those in our lives and those around us.
It has been my experience that most often this compassion is expressed in the form of physical suffering and ailments. This is an important aspect of life. Pain hurts. Nobody likes pain. It’s why so many medicate and many self-medicate whether it’s escaping the hum-drum of life or there is a real desire to escape the realities of our situations.
John recognized this when he wrote his third letter to the church. He realized that it’s important for the physical to be functional.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health… 3 John 2a
I despise the suffering that so many endure. I have friends that are suffering greatly at this very moment and it grieves my soul. Perhaps this short word brings them a slight glimmer of hope. I can only pray that is the case.
But we must also recognize we live in God’s world. As it’s been said, there is not one random molecule in this universe that God does not declare His. He is the ultimate Sovereign and I’m so grateful He is. How does one deal with a world that is actually “out of control”, random and chaotic?
I must not stop short of John’s thought, however, because he didn’t stop with the physical, as important as it is.
…as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 2b
It is at this point I begin to cry…
Our physical health is important. And our eternal soul is FAR more. A friend died this week. He was 72. That’s really not that old. He was a quiet man, never said much, but he always listened. He served his country for the majority of his adult life. He had achieved a high status in the Navy and he was proud of his accomplishments, as he should be. But no matter his status, where did he stand before the King of kings and the Lord of lords? This is what matters, was it well with his soul?
The gospel is a simple message. It says that we are all guilty sinners before a Holy God. We’ve broken His laws, we stand condemned before His perfect and righteous standards. We are without hope. He can no more pardon a guilty sinner than He can commit sin.
Because of His great mercy and loving kindness paved a way for us to be reconciled to Him. The pathway back to Him was through a bloody cross. He that knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. Satisfying the justice of God and breaking down the wall of separation, bridging the impassible chasm between us and Him.
Do you believe this?
Have you repented of your sin?
Have you placed your full faith and trust in Him to save you on the day you stand before Him?
The gospel shows us our hope must be in another.
Stop trusting in yourself. Trust in Him.
This is the message of compassion.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
May the Lord grant us compassion to love others as He loved us.