Have you ever noticed how many times in the gospel stories of Jesus it says that He felt compassion?* Over and over, as Jesus dealt with the lost and broken people all around him, He was filled with compassion, moved by compassion, and overcome with compassion. It was His compassion that motivated His acts of healing, His embracing of outcasts, His patience with His followers, and ultimately His death on the cross. Interestingly, the word often used for compassion denotes an intense inner turmoil. Jesus didn’t just care about people, he deeply felt the burden of their suffering and of their waywardness. And it isn’t just “people” he has compassion for, it’s you and me. Romans 2:4 says it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s the deep compassion of Christ Jesus that provides us with salvation, forgiveness, and new life.
If we are going to pray for revival, it must be from a place of compassion, just like Jesus. We must be ever mindful of the compassion shown to us so that we will refuse the judgments that so easily take first place in our minds, or the desire to instruct (chastise) people into faith. We must instead be motivated by compassion for them. Perhaps when we are willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus by churning inside with sorrow over the pain of our world (including our own sin), our compassion will usher in a spirit of revival and repentance. Let it be so, Lord.
May we remember the compassion and kindness Jesus has shown to us. May we come to Him begging for that same compassion to be poured out on our lost world. Finally, may we be willing to be His answer to that prayer!
*( For examples see Matt 9:36, 15:32, 14:14 20:34; Mark 1:41, 6:348:2-3 Luke 7:13,Luke 15:20)
Say the truths of the Gospel out loud to yourself every day this week, reminding yourself that you, too, were in grave need of God’s compassion to save you. Humble yourself in gratitude and thank God for His kindness toward you.
Determine every day this week to engage in an act of compassion toward someone, praying silently that your kindness will help lead them to Jesus’ heart. At the end of each day, make note if you followed through, and what was in your heart when you did.
Take a moment to confess the judgments and anger you have for our broken world. Ask the Lord to put compassion in your heart over and above your judgments.
Director of Pastoral Health and Spiritual Formation