Summary: A message concerning what the Bible says about compassion compared to the world¡¦s definition.
Compassion ¡V What It Is Not, What It Is, & What It Does
Today we begin a series of messages focusing on a number of issues that are prevalent in our society. I hope in the next week or two to give you an outline of where we will be going so you can get an idea of what to expect.
My desire is to show how Scripture addresses these concerns, thereby illustrating that Scripture is relevant for today, just as it was when it was written.
I encourage you to pray about who you would like to invite to church over these next few weeks and months, as God allows.
Why this emphasis? People are under the misunderstanding that because the Bible is over 2000 years old, it has nothing to say to us today, other than general principles that are available in other religious writings.
My goal in all this is to point out that the Bible is unique in scope and in how it relates to the very issues we face today.
Our first session deals with compassion. We hear this word a lot, but I think very few people really understand what it means. This allows for it to be misused and manipulated.
My purpose today is to help us define the word and the concept, so that we will not only have a better understanding of its meaning, but also of it application in our lives.
We are going to discuss 3 things: What it is not, what it is, and what it does. We will look at a number of Scriptures today, and I trust the Holy Spirit will open our minds to what is on HIS mind as far as this issue of compassion goes.
A. What Compassion is NOT.
In this beginning section, we will not be looking at Scripture, but hang on! We will get there, so be ready!
First, we look at what compassion is NOT. To do that, however, we need to take a look at the definition of compassion as written by St. Webster. So track with me as we look at this definition before delving into the NOT part.
Compassion ¡V ¡§Sympathetic consciousness of others¡¦ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.¡¨
Now that we know the definition, let¡¦s discuss what this does NOT say:
„h Compassion is not mere sympathy. It is not just ¡§feeling your pain.¡¨
„h It is not empathy ¡V putting yourself in their position.
„h It is not agreement ¡V being politically correct at the expense of being Biblically correct. We will discuss this more in depth later in the message.
The word compassion has been torn from the hands of the church and abused as it is used as a pawn in our country¡¦s social and political system.
Here is one example: supporting one political party¡¦s agenda over another makes you compassionate toward one group of people, while supporting the other party¡¦s agenda makes you not compassionate.
Another example is this: if you agree with homosexuality, you are compassionate. If you disagree, you are not only not compassionate, you are a homophobe.
A last example is this: supporting certain politically correct medical issues and research makes you compassionate.
By the way, where is the compassion in funding AIDS research at a much higher level than such things as breast cancer and leukemia, EACH of which kills more people per year than AIDS and is not spread primarily by behavior? You don¡¦t get breast cancer and leukemia by sleeping around. Other than in situations involving blood transfusions, you generally don¡¦t get AIDS except through sexual activity.
Where is the compassion in that? The answer is obvious ¡V it is NOT compassionate. Only politically correct. Go figure.
My point here is that compassion has been co-opted by political and worldly reasoning rather than Biblical reasoning.
Have I made myself clear on what compassion is NOT?
Then let¡¦s move on to looking at what compassion IS.
B. What Compassion IS.
Remember our definition of compassion ¡V sympathetic consciousness of others¡¦ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
Compassion is mainly seeing something wrong and doing something about it.
Let¡¦s begin with looking at the compassion of God.
„h He is the author of compassion
„h Compassion is part of His Name (Ex. 34:5-7)
-Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His Name, the LORD. And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ¡§The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.¡¨-
„h Listen to Lamentations 3:22-23:
-Because of the Lord¡¦s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.-