Compassion Givers

April 27, 2013

Compassion Givers

      “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (I Peter 3:8).  “And of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 22).

We are constantly surrounded by people who are suffering; some more than others.  Perhaps we can’t do anything to change their situation, but the least we can do is show them some compassion and consolation.

To better understand what it means to be givers of compassion, it will help to consider some words that are synonyms.  Compassion means to show sympathy.  It is an attempt to feel something of what they are feeling.  Another word is condolence.  It means to console.  It is especially needed by those who have lost a loved one.  Consolation is a similar word.  We aren’t experiencing what they are feeling; for that reason, it takes special effort to be compassionate.

Many times those who are suffering need someone to come along side of them and give them a listening ear.  Just to share their feelings with someone gives them some relief.  In Romans 12:15 the Bible tells us that we are to “weep with them that weep.”  It may be that we don’t shed tears like they do, but we need to show them that we care and want to offer comfort.

If it is within our power to deliver our friends from the unfortunate situation they are in, we need to seek God’s will about whether we should help them, and if so, how much we should help them.  Sometimes our friends may be in a financial bind that they brought upon themselves because of their negligence in managing their money.  If we help them out every time that happens, they may never learn how to manage their money.  In that case, the best way to help them may be to show them how to set up a budget.

It often happens that people suffer grief that they have brought upon themselves because they haven’t lived according to the moral standards set forth in the Bible.  Instead of showing compassion for them, we feel more inclined to reprimand them.  That may be what they need, but perhaps it isn’t the proper time for it.  It may be that someone’s marriage has broken up.  Perhaps they made a poor choice of a marriage partner.  It results in great emotional stress.  They need help for a period of time during the healing process.  We can’t change the past.  At a later date, there may be time to encourage that person to take heed to what God’s Word says.

When strangers appear at our door with a sad story about their trials, we do well to be cautious. Some are professional beggars who know how to deceive compassionate people.  More than once, after investigating, I have found that to be the case.  At times there are those who truly need help, but it’s often because they have isolated themselves from their family and those who should be care givers.  Sometimes those who know them have given up helping them because they refuse to turn from their evil ways.

Selfish people often find it hard to be compassionate.  They are more concerned about themselves than they are for those around them.  I Corinthians 12:25-26 says that Christians should be care givers.  “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.   And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”

I John 3:17 also says “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

Those who are active members of a good local church find themselves surrounded by care givers when they are in the midst of trials and tribulations.  More than once I have gone to the hospital to visit a church member who was hospitalized.  When I arrived I found that person surrounded by others from the church.  In the same room there may be another patient.  No one, or perhaps only one family member was there with them, even though it was during visiting hours.  I felt sorry for them and stopped to introduce myself and give them a word of encouragement and leave a gospel tract with them.  When a believer loses a loved one, they should be surrounded by their Christian friends as well as family members.

Many are hurting because they are the victims of our culture.  As the culture becomes more and more degenerate it leaves an ever increasing number of hurting people.  What Proverbs 14:34 says is true.  “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  We as Christians have a unique opportunity to reach out to them and offer them, not only compassion, but also the gospel which can change their life and destiny.

If we are alert, and look for them, we can find opportunities to be givers of compassion.  Some serve as hospice volunteers.  Nursing homes welcome volunteers who will come,  take an interest, and share a little of their time with the residents.  Some go to the local jail and pass out tracts and share a word of encouragement with the prisoners.  When you know that a friend or neighbor   is going through a trial, you can make yourself available as a care giver.  I Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all your things be done with charity.”  The word “charity” in this verse means affection or benevolence.

I get excited when I realize that I have the power to rescue people in despair and depression, and give them a reason to go on living.  We may even rescue some who are on the verge of suicide.  People need to know that somebody cares; that somebody loves them.  You can be that “somebody.”  Being a giver of compassion can give you reason for living and, at the same time, give others reason for living.

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