God is a God of compassion. One of His names is Rakhum which is sometimes translated as Merciful God but can also be translated as Compassionate God.
In Deuteronomy 4:31 (NASB) we are told ‘For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them’.
Psalm 103:8 (NIV) describes God this way: ‘The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love’.
God rescues us
Throughout the Old Testament we see God showing compassion to His people. We see people struggling through hard times but God always shows compassion and comes to their rescue. And then the most spectacular rescue of all is Jesus dying on the Cross for us. I find it really hard to grasp the depth of compassion God felt for us that He sent his Son to die for us. I could hardly bear to see my son hurt in any way and nothing that happened to him compared with what Jesus did for us.
Listen to Andrew’s story of how God rescued him: Freedom
We often use other words for compassion: pity, sympathy, feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, solicitousness, tender-heartedness, soft-heartedness, warm-heartedness, warmth, love, brotherly love, tenderness, gentleness, mercy, tolerance, consideration, kindness, humanity, kind-heartedness, benevolence.
We need to act
But when we feel compassion (or any of those other words we use) we need to do something. We can give money to aid charities and think that is enough. But we need to act. We can show compassion in the way we live our lives, in the way we speak to and about people and in the way we pray.
We are made in God’s image so compassion is a trait we should embrace. 1 Peter 3:8 (TPT) says ‘Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another’.
Paul Norris spoke recently about Fellowship in our series Devoted. He talked about the importance of participation, common purpose and generosity. He emphasised the need for action – for all of us to demonstrate fellowship. In particular our generosity in terms not just of money, but time and other ways of helping, demonstrates God’s compassion.
Everyone needs compassion.