“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”—Philippians 2:4 (ESV).
They watched the stranger stumble and drop to his knees. He was obviously in distress.
I listened as a friend of mine shared a story of coming to a stranger’s aid. Recently, she and her husband were leaving a store when they noticed a man jogging on the sidewalk nearby.
Concern for their fellow man, one God had placed in their path, led them to pull over to offer assistance. During the course of the conversation, they learned he was from out-of-town. He was staying at a nearby hotel, where he planned to meet with his mother later that day.
Although a call to 911 was offered, the visitor assured them he would be fine. Her husband provided him a bottle of cold water and led him to a bench in a shaded area.
Before leaving, they assisted him back inside to the hotel’s coolness and safety. In that short encounter, the stranger shared a small part of his life story, including past life trials and concerns about his health
Their paths will probably never cross again. However, I’m sure the man will never forget this couple’s compassion.
Compassion means when we recognize the suffering of others, we take action to help. Two key words: recognize and take action.
The Bible defines compassion in several ways. Proverbs 31:8-9 reads, “Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble. Stand up for what you know is right, and judge all people fairly. Protect the rights of the poor and those who need help.”
Isn’t that what Jesus did every day of His ministry? He not only taught it, He lived it. He was never too busy to recognize the needs of others and to take action when needed.
Pastor John MacArthur says, “Remember that even Jesus’ most scathing denunciation—a blistering diatribe against the religious leaders of Jerusalem in Matthew 23—ends with Christ weeping over Jerusalem. Compassion colored everything He did.”
How can we become more compassionate in our divided world? Here are seven ways, according to “The Power of Positivity” website:
1. Accept disagreements and differing opinions. We’re diverse individuals with different opinions. It’s a part of what makes for an interesting world.
2. Listen. Don’t just hear, listen to others. Look them in the eye. Provide feedback.
3. Empathize with others. Put yourself in their shoes.
4. Volunteer for a greater purpose. Real change happens when we take action, and in many instances, time is more precious than money.
5. Demonstrate acceptance. You don’t necessarily have to agree with someone; but, you can accept and respect the other person for their humanity.
6. Practice acts of kindness. When we do something small each day to make someone’s life better, it will eventually become a habit, done without thought and effort.
7. Commit to a morning ritual of gratitude. Taking time each morning to appreciate life and what we’ve been given helps us to see others through the compassionate eyes of Jesus.
Round is a former Jay High School instructor who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.