Summary: Compassion is the hallmark of a Christian. It needs to be cultivated, through doing little acts of kindness and identifying with others.
We want to think about the qualities of Christianity over these few Sundays.
• True seekers of God are people of character, compassion and conviction.
• Last week we talked about character – that’s what we want to build up – a character that reflects the beauty of Christ.
• God is concerned about that, so must we.
Character is WHO we are on the inside, not simply what we say or do, because we can say or do things simply to impress others.
• Character is a CHOICE; it is not a gift or an endowment. It has to be built up over time, by the right choices we made in our daily life.
• We (1) search for cracks (examine our attitudes and behaviours); look for patterns (repeated behaviours that we have); (3) face the music (confront them honestly), and rebuild good characteristics. By the grace of God we CAN be like Christ, because it is not of human effort.
Today we want to talk about another indistinguishable mark of a Christian – compassion. Let’s read Luke 6:32-36.
The Bible paints this one truth with many different strokes and colours.
• To show compassion is a commandment, it is a mark of the new life in Christ, Jesus demonstrated it and talked about it in His parables, and Paul emphasized this when he wrote to the churches in his epistles.
• You can’t run away from this – love is the hallmark and the evidence of true Christianity. John 13:35 says the world will see and know that we are disciples of Jesus because we love.
• John puts it quite bluntly in 1 John 4:20 “anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” The one who says he loves God and hates his brother is a liar, he says.
God demands it because this is possible in Christ. We are able to love the way God loves, even so those who are unlovable.
• The love does not come from within us; it comes from God.
• We have to believe, that in Christ we can love beyond ourselves.
I saw on MIO TV a few weeks ago the show “Miami Medical”. It features the activities that happened in an Emergency Unit of a hospital.
• Things are very different in an Emergency room, compared to anywhere else on earth. The mood is different, the atmosphere is different.
• The people are fighting to save lives. They work with each other and for each other, for a grand purpose of saving everyone that comes into that room.
• They cannot seem to do enough for each other. No one is selfish, no one is rude.
• The distinction of race, class, or status melts away. Everyone pulls together for everyone else, to do a good job.
It’s almost like the world changes in this room.
• It seems that loving someone’s life is what life is all about.
• There is no time for quarrel, no room for jealousy, no place for grudges.
• But isn’t this how the Lord wants us to live, to be concerned about loving someone else, saving the dying and nursing the injured?
• To be in a room where compassion flow and healing take place?
We are called to live our lives like these people – passionate about saving lives and showing compassion.
• Rom 5:5 says God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We can show more love and compassion, because God has given us His love.
• 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”
• So we can and we want to SHOW more of His love and compassion. This is our calling.
Loosen the tap more and allow God’s love to flow… out from us and through us.
• Very often we stifle that flow because of negligence (did not notice), our indifference (don’t bother), our self-centredness (selfish). The tap is closed, shut.
• It doesn’t come to us naturally, to love and care for others more than ourselves.
• But God says He is the One who enable us to do that, so we need to trust Him and learn to cultivate a love that is beyond ourselves.
The Parable of the Samaritan Man (Luke 10) showed us even religious people have a problem with love.
• We expect the priest and Levite to know better – having the knowledge of the Scriptures and serving in the Temple, but they failed.
• So having a church title, taking up a church post, doing church things, do not make you a compassionate person.
Compassion must be cultivated. You need to make a conscious effort to grow in love, to be a loving person, to be sensitive to the needs of others.