The Death of Compassion
I was reading a story on social media recently. In this true story some cowards were beating a defenseless man in the street. No one used their cellphone to call the police to save the man.
They were too busy videotaping the beating….and laughing about it.
People are bragging about how many abortions they have had. They obviously don’t care that they helped murder all those babies. They also do not care about those who wanted to have babies but miscarried and grieve that loss deeply.
Others openly make fun of people with physical, mental, or psychological disabilities.
I’ve seen people post videos of drug addicts stumbling around and fighting invisible foes that they are hallucinating. Others “like” those videos and mock the people in them.
There is no thought to the fact that these are someone’s daughters or sons…or parents or spouses. Someone’s heart is broken over this but it doesn’t matter to those mocking them because, well, it doesn’t affect THEM.
Not many people think to consider what it would feel like if THEY were in those situations.
Ministries like ours, all over the world, will make desperate needs known. We literally have access to THOUSANDS of people, many of whom claim to be members of the family of God.
Only a small handful of people at any given time ever seem to have compassion on those in need.
It’s very rare for a congregation to help. Satan has successfully installed a spirit of territoriality into God’s Church. Its name is “MY church.”
It is almost always a person or a married couple who helps and, often, they themselves are people of meager means.
Sometimes those who help aren’t even Christians.
A person will be struggling to carry something heavy and people will drive by, too busy to spend FIVE MINUTES of their lives to help someone else.
Many never ever seem to even consider what they could do for anyone other than themselves.
There is a meanness afoot on the earth these days the likes of which I have never seen.
Not caring enough to even consider helping others is a slow motion selfish meanness – and it is rampant in our world.
The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul says this:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, UNLOVING, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
There is a terrible meanness afoot. We’re seeing 2 Timothy 3:1-5 unfold right before our eyes.
The “last days” started when Jesus died and rose from the dead. It will continue until that “last day” when Jesus returns.
The time between the start of the last days and the end has been marked with a steady slide downwards away from the Way Jesus modeled as He walked on the earth.
HOW He lived was to be an example to us about what our new normal would be as HIS people living by HIS Spirit within us.
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:35-36)
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)
The disciples wanted to send them away. Jesus, in contrast, had compassion. His heart was broken for them.
He healed people, told them to sit down and He fed the five thousand that were there.
“Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’” (Matthew 15:32)
This time the disciples could see the need but thought it was an impossible task. They also saw earthly limitations to meeting the need. Then they witnessed Jesus going beyond those limitations.
(This is something we should remember when we think, “This is an impossible need to meet.”)
While leaving Jericho, Jesus and His disciples happened upon two blind men, crying out to Him to have mercy on them.
“So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, that our eyes may be opened.’ So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” (Matthew 20:32-34)
These are just a few of the 14 times the word “compassion” is used referring to Jesus AND how He operated.
The word “compassion” comes from the Greek word “splagchnizomai”. It means to feel deeply or viscerally, to yearn DEEP inside our hearts, to have pity. It means to be deeply affected by someone else’s bad or tragic situation.
We see almost none of this in the world around us and, sadly, not much in the Body of Christ.
Paul urges us to live like Jesus…to IMITATE Him just like Paul did.
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
When teaching the Ephesians (and us) about who we are as the “new man in Christ” he said this about our new normal as Christians:
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
Paul links imitating God with showing kindness toward one another and being tenderhearted.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Have you ever considered why these apostles felt the need to urge us to be compassionate?
People feel the need to urge others to do the right thing because the urging is necessary.
Paul and Peter did it because they were well aware of satan and how he has saturated the world systems with his meanness and selfishness. They knew that we would have a tendency to drift away from God’s ways.
I believe that this tendency affects us as Christians today. That’s why we see so little compassion among us…and why the lost world sees it too – and judges us to be uncaring.
As I meditated on this all week it became evident to me that Jesus CONSIDERED the needs of others…and that led to the COMPASSION He practiced.
He was able to do this because He knew His Father would meet all His needs. That freed Him to be able to consider others’ needs.
One of my teachers said that “we can’t truly minister Christ to others if we cannot see life from behind their eyes.”
A man I know announced to me as a newly born again person that he had no use for anyone else. I winced when I heard that thinking to myself, “Pretty much all God cares about is people!”
His brain remembered how to not care about others but he now belonged to the Lord. That meant that his spirit, his soul and his body were now the Lord’s and the Lord has compassion for people.
I began to spend time with that man and was driving across a food store parking lot one day. He was telling me how little he cared about other people when suddenly he slammed on the brakes.
We turned around and headed toward a woman who had her car hood open and was standing holding a fan belt in her hand.
I said, “What are we doing?” to which he replied, “That lady needs our help.”
I grinned and said, “I thought you didn’t care about people.”
The look on his face was priceless. He was confused. His brain had memories of not caring about others but his soul was being transformed to be more like Jesus.
As the Lord gave me the title of this article I became sad because it really DOES feel like compassion is dying as I see things and hear things about how little people seem to care about others.
It’s taken me all week to write this. I don’t really believe the Lord would show me something for the purpose of keeping me sad. There is ALWAYS something restorative in everything He does.
So, I waited….and prayed.
Then He showed me the rest of this story.
“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8-9)
The bottom line truth is that God is compassionate and He never dies…therefore, compassion will NEVER die.
And the manifestation of His compassion on the earth through Christians will never die either….if there is just one person willing to allow Him to touch his heart.
So, I take joy in the reality that a few STILL love Him to the degree that they allow His compassion to flow through him.
The world is still a mean place. Most people will still not care about anyone other than themselves, Christians and lost people alike.
But GOD will.
When God’s compassion touches a person through a Christian yielded to the Holy Spirit that person will be drawn to Him and not to some religious system that claims His name but doesn’t reflect His true nature.
We will NEVER witness “The Death of Compassion”.