The God of Compassion

I laugh at myself sometimes. Actually, if I am completely honest, I laugh at myself a lot! The other day I was at the grocery store buying a loaf of bread and the lady at the register said, ‘I like your coat.’ I responded by thanking her. But the conversation did not stop there! I went on to tell her how much I love my new coat. It’s perfect for those in between weather days! I told her where I bought it and I told her the price I paid for it (since it was a great deal!)

For some reason, I always feel the need to do that. When someone compliments what I am wearing, there is always a story behind it, and I always feel like I need to share it!  I feel compelled to tell the story behind what I am wearing.

This week in Bible Study we are looking at Jonah 3:9-10:

‘Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.’

In the previous verses, the king of Nineveh humbled himself before God hoping that maybe, just maybe, God would relent from judgment and show compassion.

Compassion is not merely an awareness of the pain of others. True compassion draws near to those who are suffering and takes action to help.

God saw Nineveh’s need. He saw their repentant hearts and God acted. God did not bring the destruction on Nineveh that they deserved. God showed compassion.

In Luke 15, we find the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son found himself in a hopeless, desperate situation, and made a decision to go back to his father. After all that he had done, he did not expect to be treated as a son. He only hoped for the opportunity to be a servant in his father’s house.

‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.’ (Luke 15:10)

 From far off, the father saw his son’s need. He was his dirty, hungry, and covered with the evidence of his sin, yet the father showed compassion. The father came near. He ran to the son, and he acted. He hugged and kissed the son and called for a celebration as this son who was once dead was now alive.   The father showed compassion to his son.

Our Father has shown us compassion. He saw our need, while we were still in our sin. He came near to us. Jesus Christ came to walk with us. And our need brought Him to action. Christ’s sacrifice in our place was the only thing that could free us from sin and eternal death. So he took action on the cross and died in our place.

Compassion…we have experienced it and Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12 that now we are to wear it.

Why? So that when others experience His compassion through us, they will ask us about what we are ‘wearing’. With this kind of story, we will not be able to keep quiet! Our God saw our need, He came close, and He took action!   We have an amazing story behind what we are wearing, one that is not meant to be kept silent. This is a story we are all compelled to tell!

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