Compassion refers to kindness and sympathy. To understand it better is look at the root word in Latin ‘Compati’ meaning “suffer with.” Compassion means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering.
True compassion changes the way we live to focus on the burden and pain of others. A Germany scholar Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” For him compassion precedes personal differences and conflicts or grudges that one can have against the other. Compassion is directed to all in need despite their tribal, racial or religious affiliation. Compassion is the heart beat of God. It was through his compassionate love that he gave his beloved son Jesus Christ to die for the sinner who never deserved the love. The bible speaks about compassion passionately.
In Isaiah 30:18, the bible says; yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! In the book of exodus the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Exodus 33:19).
In Exodus God is, “I am who I am”. There is nothing outside God that makes him the way he is. His being originates in himself. He simply is who he is from everlasting to everlasting. We can worship in awe, or we can rebel in unbelief. Many times we judge others in matters of giving especially when it comes to church. When some people have a grudge or hate that individual or his tribe, compassion is denied. That amounts to unbelief and real ignorance of who God is. If he truly knows our heart, who are we to deny people for their external appearance. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious means there is nothing outside God that constrains his gracious election of anybody. His choices originate in himself. He chooses freely apart from any conditions in us. We can stand in awe of his sovereign freedom and worship with gratitude. God’s doctrine of unconditional election is rooted in his nature. Gracious is his very name and his innermost glory. If God were not free in the grace he gives, he would not be God.
Therefore our act of compassion is embedded in the person of the gracious God who loves all people unconditionally.
We invite you to support someone and put a smile on their face. Nothing is small before the Lord (Matthew 25:35-40). Count it all joy when you give a gift to someone you do not know. As we celebrate Alabaster this week we are reminded of a compassionate woman who poured an alabaster jar of expensive oil at the feet of Jesus. We look forward to seeing people empty not just jars of sin and pain but also of expensive oils in form of dollars, pounds and Euros for the work of the kingdom. May God bless you as you choose to bless another.
The Very Rev. Canon Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye,