Read Philippians 2:19-30
Compassion, to suffer with, is not an emotion I naturally have as a part of my DNA. My natural way when I hear about a hard thing is to do one of 3 things.
1. Think that what they are experiencing isn’t or can’t be that bad, they should get over it.
2. No emotion at all. You could even say I feel indifferent.
3. Overwhelmed because I don’t know what I can do to fix it.
But God has been growing in me a heart of compassion over the last 8 years and now I can honestly say that my heart often, daily even, breaks with the things that breaks the hearts of others. God began to instill in me a heart of compassion when my husband and I were sent as missionaries to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Every week a new group came to help clean up a flooded, devastated city and every week I read to them the words about Jesus found all over the book of Matthew “…and he had compassion on them…”.
All the reasons I had to not have compassion were washed away as God began to open my eyes to see people the way he did with love and compassion. My heart was softened. My heart broke. I was humbled to realize that where as on the outside I didn’t look like the people in New Orleans, my insides were often wrecked and my Savior had compassion on me to die for me, so undeserving and to forgive me, rebuild, renew, restore and redeem me over and over again.
When I look back on who I was, who I can still be, judgemental lacking in love, grace and compassion and who God has called me to be, the person he has enabled me to be, the person I allow his love to make me be I would choose the latter any day. I desire to be a woman marked by compassion. I want my heart to break like Jesus’ did. I want to suffer with those suffering in order to make a difference.
And isn’t this the legacy that Timothy and Epaphroditus left as Paul wrote about them here? In 2:20 Paul says “I don’t have anyone else like Timothy, he genuinely cares about your welfare” and in 2:30 ” He (Epaphroditus) almost died for the work of Christ to make up for the help you couldn’t give.”
What would people write about you? About me? That forsaking ourselves we so suffered with others that we almost died, that there is no one else like us we care so deeply?
That, today is the challenge. To look at your life and mine and judge ourselves, our hearts and begin to pray to have the eyes of Jesus and a heart that cares.