Or perhaps you are sitting at church one Sunday and the special guest is a missionary from an underdeveloped country talking about the orphans in their community that have literally nothing.
Perhaps you hear that the young lady with two young kids and a husband serving in the military overseas who lives just down the street is really struggling to make ends meet and her car just broke down.
We hear about situations like this from time to time. Our hearts go out to those who we hear are struggling and hurting. While we may feel compassion, the question is what do we do about it?
Too often we hear of someone who is struggling. We feel sympathy for them. We might even think about how we might be able to help. But then life gets busy. Pretty soon it is forgotten. Lost in our maze of work and family responsibilities. I don’t say this to lay a guilt trip on anyone. I am often guilty of this as well.
Practicing “And” compassion
I recently heard a message where it was noted that Jesus practiced “And” compassion.
Note the scriptures below, my emphasis added.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. – Matthew 14:14
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. – Matthew 20:34
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. – Mark 6:34
Jesus often had compassion on the people he came in contact with but it didn’t stop there. His compassion led him to take action. He had compassion and he did something about it.
James tells us:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? – James 2:14-16
Compassion doesn’t do much to help the hurting. Compassion only matters when it spurs us on to action.
The real problem of debt
I believe many times the real problem for most of us is not that we don’t care or that we turn a deaf ear to those who are hurting. I believe most people would like to be able to help, but the problem is we are barely making it ourselves. It is very hard to lend a helping hand to the drowning when we are treading water neck-deep ourselves.
This is one of the real problems with debt. Debt is a thief. It steals our peace. It steals our ability to succeed. And maybe most importantly it steals our ability to be a blessing to others. I hate what debt does to us, and I want you to learn to hate debt too.
This is the real purpose of the wealth God blesses us with. Sure part of it is so we can take care our family, plan for our future, and enjoy some of what God has given us. But after those basic needs are met we can turn our eyes outward to those around us that are in need and hurting. That is only possible though when we have a surplus to give from. When we are enslaved to debt, it is hard to be generous.
Learn to practice “And” compassion
If you are buried in debt, I urge you to use your compassion as a driving force for getting out of debt knowing that if you had a little more margin in your life you would be able to help those in need.
If you are doing OK financially, then I really challenge you to open your eyes to those around you. Don’t be satisfied with simply feeling compassion for those you see in need. Do something to help!
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18