Summary: Ways to cultivate compassion. The greatest benefit of compassion is hope both for others and for ourselves.

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Matt. 9:1-12; 14:14; 20:34 Mk. 1:40-42 John 14:12 Gal. 6:2-6 1 Sam. 16:7

If you’ve ever been on a roller coaster, then you may remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re on that first big drop. It’s very much like when you hear some horrible news. Your stomach feels like it’s just been kicked. The biblical word for that feeling is “splachna.” It literally translates as a person’s “guts,” but the Greek translate it as “compassion.” They believed that different human emotions come from different parts of our body. Love for instance, came from the heart; compassion was – so to speak – “a gut feeling”.

The only person in the Bible that this word is associated with is Jesus. It says that Jesus felt this way when He encountered the sick in Matthew 14:14, “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.” And when he encountered the blind in 20:34, “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they were healed.” and numerous other times. This morning I invite you to,

Please read with me from Matthew 9:1-12

Jesus’ caught the “teachers of the Law” off guard. If He had said, “Your sins are forgiven”, there would be no visible proof of it, and they could call it “blasphemy”. But the visible, physical healing of the paralytic was forgiveness WITH proof. This the teachers could NOT deny.

Our English word “compassion” comes from the Latin (com & pati) which together means, “suffering with others.” Some people possess a keen com-passion for the suffering of others. For some, it’s a gift. For others, it’s been cultivated. But Scripture tells us that all of us are called to have compassion whether gifted or not.

Here are some practical Ways to Cultivate Compassion:

1. We should see people through the eyes of Christ. Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, “The lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

We’re so tempted to look at the outward appearance only and to judge others by their looks or by their success or their mistakes. This starts early in life.

The story is told of a father who had a daughter in 3rd grade. She came to him one evening and very emotionally asked, “Daddy am I pretty?” He said, “Of course you are honey.” Then he tenderly asked, “Why are you asking me if you’re pretty?” She said tearfully, “The boys in my school were saying who the pretty girls are, and they didn’t say my name.” Can you feel her pain? If so, you have “splachna” … compassion … and you don’t need to see a doctor.

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