What is an act of compassion?
When someone understands the pain of those who suffer physically or emotionally and taking a step forward to help them ease their pain through his simple act of love and kindness is compassion. A compassionate heart will never be selfish. It will consider the pain of others as its own and help them. As the children of God, God wants us to strengthen the people who are weak physically or mentally.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Isaiah 35:3
When we go through tough situations, we may need a hand that support us and some comforting words to strengthen us. If we could look at those who are going through tough situations with the same view, then we could have compassion for their suffering and could help them out.
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. -James 2:8
The most important thing to be followed by a born again Christian is to consider the pain and struggle of another person to be his own pain and take part in their suffering and care for them.
What are the characteristics of compassion?
A compassionate heart is a loving heart which does not think evil for anyone. A person with compassion will always think of betterment of the lives of people around him. The Holy Bible speaks about various characteristics of a compassionate heart. Let us explore through some of those characteristics explained in the Holy Bible.
A compassionate heart forgives
When a person says that he has compassion, he will never hold grudge in his heart for those who did evil to him. He will have a heart that forgives and if he see the person who did evil to him suffer, he will immediately help him. Compassion makes a person to forgive those who did evil to him.
If we read about the life of Joseph in the Bible, his brothers hate him and did evil to him. He had to go through slavery and prison without any cause. But when he got a high position in the country and when his brothers came to him asking for food, he never wanted to take revenge. But he was filled with compassion for his brothers who did evil to him. He could not bear the fact that his family was suffering due to famine. He completely forgave them and provided them food and all their needs.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. -Genesis 50:20-21
A compassionate heart has patience and perseverance
A compassionate heart will not be selfish and it will bear any pain for the happiness of others. When someone has compassion on a person going through difficulty, and if he has decided to help the person, then he will patiently bear any pain or trouble that he need to face to get through that path of rescuing that person from his difficulty. His determination cannot be stopped by any storms he face on his way.
When God has compassion on the dying souls, He never gave up on His plan. He patiently bore all our sins, pains and sicknesses to bring us redemption from sin and all sicknesses.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. -Isaiah 53:7
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. -Romans 15:7
We are called to show compassion on people without any selfishness by following the example of Jesus Christ.
A compassionate heart never find discrimination
A person who is filled with compassion won’t discriminate people based on their race, religion or language. There will be no barrier for him to help people who are in need. He will help people going through pain without considering their past life.
In Luke 10:30-37, the Bible portrays the compassionate act of a Samaritan. A man attacked by robbers was lying down on the road. No one was ready to help him. But a Samaritan came on that way and had compassion on that injured man and took him in his own vehicle and helped him recover from his injuries. But he didn’t look for the race of the man when he saw him I’m danger. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbours and have compassion on them without any discrimination.
A compassionate heart gives generously
When we have a compassionate heart towards the people who don’t have food to eat and lack their daily essentials, we will have a generous heart to provide their needs although we don’t have much wealth in our stores. Thus, even a small help from our compassionate heart will be accepted by God according to generous heart to help them.
In Acts 9:36, we read about a woman who was compassionate for the people who don’t have their daily needs. She helped them from her small savings generously without expecting anything in return. A generous heart with compassion will be blessed with all earthly blessings but also it stores up treasures in heaven.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. -Psalm 112:9
How do you show compassion to others?
We can show our compassion for the people who suffer through small acts of love and kindness.
Through Encouraging words
We can encourage people with our words when they are emotionally hurt. We can encourage them by sharing our own experience on overcoming a similar situation. We can share our own testimony on how God helped us to come out of such problems and strengthen their faith in God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles”. And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. -2 Chronicles 32:7-8
Here, the king Hezekiah was encouraging his people to stay strong in faith so that God will help them to defeat their enemies.
By being with them in their sufferings
Most of the times, people who are grieving become overwhelmed when they don’t have anyone to take care of them. Loneliness makes their grief more miserable. Thus, we can show our compassion through taking part in the sufferings of the people with them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. -Romans 12:15
The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. When we freely talk to them, they will share their painful stories and we can console them with God’s promises, so that they can trust God for their needs and won’t worry anymore.
In 1 Samuel 1, when Hannah was crying because of the insults of her rival, Elkanah stood by the side of Hannah and consoled her. His contorting words gave her relief from the hurting words of her rival.
And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” -1 Samuel 1:8
Through timely financial support
Helping the people who are in need with your money or other things will help them have their daily needs. There are many children without parents, women without anyone to support live around us. There may be physically challenged people who cannot earn for themselves are always around us. A kind smile can change their lives. They will get their food with your small financial support. Our Holy Bible tells us that we need to support those who are in need without expecting anything in return.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. -Proverbs 31:20
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just”. -Luke 14:12-14
Types of compassion
Compassion through self experience
If we go through difficult situations and come out with great struggle, we will be able to understand the pain of those who are going through a similar situation more than anyone else. When we meet a person undergoing the same situation, we could feel the pain and can console them with encouraging words. We could understand their needs more than anyone else. For example, a person who had a cancer treatment before can understand a person having the same disease. He could feel their pain and can help them more effectively.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. -Hebrews 4:15
When Jesus lived on the earth, He went through all kind of temptations of sin, but he conquered them all. So He could understand the weakness of His people. So He is compassionate on His children to help them overcome the temptations in this earth.
Compassion to the unworthy
We were all created to bring glory to the name of God. But we sinned against God and lost His glory. We were all sinners and become unworthy to reach the presence of God. But the greatest unfailing compassion of God brought Jesus down to earth. His compassion on the unworthy mankind made Him to die for them. His compassion brought forgiveness and eternal hope for those who believe in Him.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. -Romans 3:23-24
The prodigal son who devoured the property of the father was unworthy to be accepted by the father. But the father was compassionate for his son and run to him and hugged and kissed him and accepted him not as a servant, but as his son. The compassion that God have upon the mankind is the same thing. He is always compassionate enough to accept His people to repent from their sins and come back to Him.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. -Luke 15:20
Compassion of a father and mother on their children
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. -Psalm 103:13
Compassion of a father or a mother to their children is always unconditional. Even though the people of Israel went away from God many times on their way to Canaan, God did not destroyed them. Instead, He carried them like a father. God’s compassion and kindness on His people is never ending like that of a father to his children
And in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place. -Deuteronomy 1:31.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. -Psalm 78:37-38
A mother has compassion for her child. She sacrifices her health and live for her children all through her life. No one can care for her child like her. But God has promised not to forget us even though a mother forgets her own child.
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. -Isaiah 49:15
Thus, the compassion of God on each of us is incomparable and so let us learn to have compassion on others from Him.