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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Whenever Jesus saw a person, He saw him through the eyes of compassion (Mark 6:34). Jesus is our High Priest and He always stands in the office of Priest on behalf of the people.

When we read accounts of the Lord’s miraculous works, we often read of compassion leading Him. Since Jesus is our example, we too should be moved by those things that move the heart of God. In John 11, the account of Lazarus’ death, we read that the Lord was deeply moved by Mary’s grief. Such compassion was present before He performed the miracle that raised Lazarus from the dead. The Bible records in verse 33 that Jesus “groans in the Spirit” which word in the Greek, “embrimaomai”, literally means, “to be moved with indignation” or “to snort as a war horse”. Jesus battles death itself; He does so on behalf of His friend, Lazarus.

In witnessing and ministering to others, our Saviour teaches us “to see” a man/woman/child through “eyes of compassion”. Jesus sees the needs of others and responds on a much deeper level than just the physical. He attends to the most significant, spiritual needs. If we do the same, asking God to show us what is on His heart, we too will experience the Spirit’s power and anointing in our Christian walk. We will see people profoundly changed, perhaps even transformed and impacted for eternity.

Elton Trueblood, a noted 20th century American Quaker, author, theologian, and chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities, captures this kind of care and compassion when speaking of the “strategy of Jesus” in using a band of faithful followers:[I]

One of the truly shocking passages of the gospel is that in which Jesus indicates that there is absolutely no substitute for the tiny, loving, caring, reconciling society.  if this fails, he suggests, all is failure; there is no other way.  He told the little bedraggled fellowship that they were actually the salt of the earth and that if this salt should fail, there would be no adequate preservative at all.  He was staking all on one throw.

What we need is not intellectual theorizing or even preaching, but a demonstration.  One of the most powerful ways of turning people’s loyalty to Christ is by loving others with the great love of God…. A society of genuine loving friends, set free from the self-seeking struggle for personal prestige and from all unreality, would be something unutterably priceless and powerful.  A wise person would travel any distance to join it. [emphasis added] [1]

This is the kind of compassion – a love in action – that both reflects the Saviour, and redeems society. It is in such a fellowship that the Holy Spirit is released to do His work, allowing Him to be both Reconciler and Redeemer. We are indeed called to be men and women of affection, faith, vision and calling. Oh, that we would wholeheartedly embrace this “band of faithful followers”!

Being led by compassion in our life and practice, following our Lord’s example, is a critical first step. Won’t you sign up?

Ruth A.M. Ross

Portions of this article were also printed in the Christian Legal Journal, a quarterly publication of Christian Legal Fellowship (Canada).

[1] D. Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed: A Bold and Imaginative Rethinking of the Strategy of the Church in Contemporary Life, (New York; Harper Collins; 1961).

– This article comes from AI’s “No Higher Calling,” a devotional for lawyers.

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