The need for compassion with action
While at the dentist office the other day a boy yelled out, “does anybody want to play with me?” The boy was met with silence in response, and that hurt my son’s heart, he has such a sweet and gentle soul so I I knew it would. Then I watched to see what my son would do next.
Nothing. Immediately, he did nothing. Then the boy looked straight at Aden and asked him directly if he wanted to play. Aden promptly jumped up and put on his “I’d be honored to play with you” face to ensure the boy knew that his response wasn’t out of sheer pity. See, Aden was touched that this kid had so much enthusiasm but received a lackluster response. He told me he felt bad because nobody responded, and he thought this made the boy feel left out or ignored.
As I watched this play out I thought about how many times we “feel bad” for people without letting those feelings prompt us to movement. While I guess “feeling bad” is a good start, it’s a terrible place to stop.
I asked Aden why he didn’t respond to the kids first request for someone to play with him. It seems to have come down to embarrassment. He didn’t want to be the first to jump up, to stand out there all alone, to draw attention to himself. I reminded him the having pity on someone is not what we’re called to do. “Feeling sorry” is not the response this kid was looking for. He was looking for someone to take action. If God moved his heart to compassion, then that’s a clear indication that that Holy Spirit was moving in him to do the Father’s will. It’s his (our) responsibility to move when God calls us to do so. Pity never helped anyone, but action has.
We should never be embarrassed to do God’s will, or to step up and be kind. We have to be brave and do what’s good. Who knows, stepping up may inspire others kids to do the same. But feeling bad without action won’t do any good.
What I learned
For so many years I’ve been asking God to show me where He wants me to go, and what He wants me to do. Then I heard something that just clicked and made total sense to me. If I’m sitting in my house, I’ll never see the open doors God intends for me to walk through. What good is done sitting home thinking of good ways to give; Coming up with ideas to help others but never putting them into action? That won’t get me any closer to helping people or making a difference. God’s opening doors, but I’ll never know it if I’m not looking for them. So I need to get out there and do something, anything, but just DO.
If someone’s in need of help, and we see it, why do we need to be singled out before we offer what we can?
What the Word says
How many times do we do that? How many times do we “feel bad” but continue ignoring something? If we take those words “feel bad” and translate it, most times it would translate into compassion. We’re to be His hands and feet, and our compassion should move us to action.
- Hebrews 13:16 NIV – And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
- Hebrews 13:2 NIV – Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
- Matthew 25:36 NIV – I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
- Luke 6:35-36 NIV – 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
- Galatians 6:10 NIV – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV – And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
- Romans 12:13 NIV – Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
- 1 Timothy 6:18 NIV – Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
If God has given us abilities, resources, or taken us through a trial that will benefit others, let it not be in vain. Let us use all we have, and give all we can for the glory of God; To promote His name, and to show what love looks like. It’s clear from these verses that God has something very definite to say about turning our compassion into action.