Thursday, February 9, 2017

Compassion....Just Do It....

    Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

      Jesus saw the people, He saw what was going on around Him. He didn't turn His back on the people who were hurting. He didn't pretend that they weren't there. He didn't ignore the realities of our world. He gave them His attention, and made Himself aware of their needs. Time after time I see people, including myself sometimes, Judge the people who are begging on the streets. We make up excuses in our heads, like they are probably going to buy booze or drugs. I see people cross the street or go in a different direction just to avoid them. We can't look them in the eye and tell them we don't have any change, when our pockets are full of it.. We make up justifications like we don't want to enable their drug or alcohol habit. They are better off without my money, it's just too easy to ignore the problem. But, Jesus doesn't call us to take the easy path. He calls us to step out of the comfort zone and see directly, the brokenness of our world. He wants us to look and see the helpless, the broken, and the oppressed. Jesus spent most of His ministry with these people, and so should we.

     Jesus had compassion on them, He didn't isolate Himself from their pain and suffering, He let down His guard, and let Himself get emotionally vulnerable. He did not push away those emotions that were brought out. Feeling compassion isn't some kind  love dovey pity party. Compassion goes straight to the heart and creates that gut wrenching feeling in which we empathetically identify with the brokenness of another person. Those who choose to do nothing are choosing to be emotionally absent. Those who choose empathy choose to become emotionally involved.

     We are constantly bombarded with things today that pull us away from the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and slowly pushes us towards apathy. Thoughts of who cares, or whatever start to dominate us. That apathetic attitude blocks us from seeing the  helpless, the broken, and the oppressed. It insulates us from feeling their pain and suffering. Jesus gives us a simple model to fight against apathy. He opened His eyes to see the need of others. He doesn't cross the street when He sees someone in need. He didn't pretend to not notice to avoid a difficult conversation. He confronted head on the harsh realities of this life. He shared their pain with gut wrenching sympathy, He gave himself permission to be emotionally involved. Their pain became His pain. He took action, He didn't say that is not my problem. He wasn't a benchwarmer, He wasn't watching from the stands. He was out their in full uniform, playing hard, getting bruised, and ultimately defeats the opposing team. Jesus could have worn NIKE sandals, because His actions clearly lead us to 3 words, just do it. The love and compassion of Jesus Christ can turn this world upside down. Now is the time to act on God's example. No more coasting, no more excuses. It is time for action. Compassion, just do it......Amen

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