Remember the Sarah McLachlan animal abuse videos? The one that would come on and you would hear the first note strike and change the channel because your little heart just couldn’t handle it. You immediately wanted to adopt 17 puppies because you had so much to offer and you were going to be the savior off all that is drool and chew toys.
A lot of times in the church we think that’s what compassion is. We kind of look down on the hurt and the lost as people that WE need to rescue because their lives are so terrible. If I’m being really honest and looking to the core of myself that’s sometimes the feeling I get when I see a family in poverty, a hurting student, or even just a student who is regularly making bad decisions and making a mess of their life.
However, in our Viral series, we want to make things spread so fast that we can’t contain them. Things that glorify Jesus and his Church. Last week we talked about making generosity go viral and this week we want to make compassion go viral, but first we had to reframe our understanding of compassion.
In Matthew 9 Jesus sees the crowds and has compassion on them. Plain and simple he sees people and who are “harassed and helpless” and has compassion on them. He then turns and tells his disciples that, “…the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” and sends them out into the harvest as workers in chapter 10. Jesus sees people who need a savior, hurts for them, and then sends his people.
The disciples are then able to go and do miraculous things because they also have compassion on people. Not from an area of pride or a savior complex or in a way that’s about them at all. They are able to do this because they understand the weight of being a sheep without a shepherd because at one point Jesus had compassion on them and their situation and called them to be disciples anyway.
Having compassion isn’t about feeling bad for people. It’s about seeing people the way that Jesus sees people.
When we do that it calls us to action, it calls us to reap a harvest, and it calls us to be a worker. But first, we have to humble ourselves and realize that Jesus had compassion on us first. He saw our situation, our sin, our choices, and loved us anyway and called us to himself.
Having compassion means seeing people the way Jesus sees people. But first, we must remember the way Jesus sees us. Then we can reap a great harvest.