Have compassion for one another
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;
love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous (1 Peter 3:8).
Compassion is a deep awareness of, and sympathy for, anothers suffering, accompanied by
a desire to do something about it.
Jesus is our example.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our
weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin
When Jesus was on earth, He showed compassion.
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 9:36).
Jesus came to be the good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14). He is the
great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20). He is the Shepherd and Overseer
of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). We humans need leadership and He is
the perfect leader.
Following His example, we should have compassion for those who are lost like
sheep without a shepherd.
What should our compassion cause us to do about it? First, Jesus tells
us to pray: The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His
harvest (Matthew 9:37, 38).
After praying, we ought to translate our compassion into action. Paul asked: And
how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless
they are sent? (Romans 10:14, 15).
When we have compassion for the lost, we will pray, send and go.
Compassion means that we sometimes help when we really need to rest. And
He said to them, Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and
rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they did
not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place
in the boat by themselves. But the multitudes saw them departing, and many
knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived
before them and came together to Him. And Jesus, when He came out,
saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they
were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them
many things (Mark 6:31-34).
Jesus had compassion on people who were hungry. 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).
On another occasion, when the disciples wanted to send the crowd away because
they had no food, Jesus said: They do not need to go away.
You give them something to eat (Matthew 14:16).
Jesus had compassion on the sick. 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).
Jesus had compassion on mourners. And when He came near the gate of
the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son
of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from
the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion
on her and said to her, Do not weep. Then He came and
touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He
said, Young man, I say to you, arise. So he who was dead
sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother
We have compassion on others because God has compassion on us. Jesus told
about a slave who owed his master a large sum. Then the master
of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the
debt (Matthew 18:27). But when the slave showed no compassion for a fellow
slave who only owed him a small amount, his master was angry. Should
you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I
had pity on you? (Matthew 18:33).
We ought to follow the example of the good Samaritan: But a certain
Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him,
he had compassion (Luke 10:33).
Although we hate sin, we ought to have compassion on sinners and strive
to rescue them, being careful not to become entangled ourselves. And on some
have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out
of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh (Jude 22,
Without compassion, religious observance is worthless.
When the ruler of the synagogue criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath,
He replied: Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose
his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water
it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan
has bound - think of it - for eighteen years, be loosed from
this bond on the Sabbath? (Luke 13:15, 16). They had more compassion for
a donkey than for this woman.
Another time He told the religious leaders: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have
neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These
you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone (Mathew 23:23).
On the other hand, there are some who mistakenly think that compassion is
sufficient for salvation. They are confident that God requires nothing more than being
kind to others.
This is proven wrong by the salvation of Cornelius. Although he is described
as a devout man and one who feared God with all his household,
who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always (Acts
10:2) he was not saved because the angel told him: 'Send men to
Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you
words by which you and all your household will be saved (Acts 11:13,
Even though he believed in God, prayed regularly, and gave alms to the
poor, Cornelius was not saved. To be saved he had to hear the
gospel, believe in Jesus, and be baptized.
God appreciates the good that people do and has promised that those who
seek will find. The angel told Cornelius: Your prayers and your alms have
come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:4). But people cannot be
saved just by praying and doing good deeds because along with the good,
there is also sin in the life of every person. Only through the
blood of Christ can sin be washed away.
So let us follow Jesus example and be compassionate. Let us bring the
lost sheep to the Shepherd. Let us feed the hungry and help the
sick. Let us be compassionate as God has been compassionate to us.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous (1 Peter 3:8). Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Published in The Old Paths Archive