Compassion comes from the heart of Jesus by Pernille Rasmussen
As I began to think about compassion, I was at first looking for good experiences where I have shown compassion to others. But once again I realized that first of all, I am not the giver of compassion, but rather the one who needs to receive compassion. God has been so good and merciful to me throughout my whole life and shown me real compassion. First of all the question is not: What is compassion, but rather: Who is compassion? And the answer is God. When Adam and Eve chose to break their relationship with God and bring sin and suffering into the world, they were afraid and hid themselves in the garden. But God is a God of love and compassion and He humbled Himself, came down to the garden and called Adam’s name – not with a stern or angry voice, but with the most tender and loving voice they ever heard. And today this voice is still calling out to you, and to every person who needs Jesus and His compassion.
Speaking about God’s compassion the story of Mary comes to my mind; she was deeply involved with sin and caught in the act of adultery when the Pharisees dragged her to Jesus, demanding of Him to decide what to do with her. She was ashamed, humiliated and terrified, expecting the certain death as she was brought to Jesus. But Jesus did not treat her as she deserved – He treated her with compassion. And after the Pharisees one by one quietly had left the place, Jesus looked at her. Can you imagine the look in His eyes as He looked at her, the gentleness and compassion? And then He spoke the forgiving and encouraging words, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).
Later on, Jesus was invited to the house of one of the Pharisees. As He was sitting there Mary came and anointed Him with very expensive oil she had purchased in love for her Redeemer. She came to Him weeping, washing His feet with her tears and drying them with her lose hanging hair, and she kissed His feet. Then she anointed Him with the oil. The Pharisee who invited Jesus saw what was going on and he thought by himself that surely Jesus could not be from God, since He welcomed this woman. But Jesus knew his thoughts and told him a parable about how the one who has been forgiven the most will love the most.
Mary had really experienced Jesus love and compassion; she had been forgiven for many sins and because of this she loved Jesus so much more. It is when we experience Jesus’ compassion that we will begin to love Him back and have compassion for other people. Ellen White puts it this way, “He who loves Christ the most will do the greatest amount of good.” DA 250.
Last year, I was in Guyana for a mission trip at the Kimbia Mission Academy, an Adventist boarding school in the jungle. I was with the girls almost all day long, working as a teacher and living in the dorm with them as a girls’ dean. It was a very difficult experience for me. I was missing my family, friends and my home, and here I was as a missionary, trying to show the girls who Jesus is. In the beginning I honestly did not feel like loving these girls at all. However, I really experienced how Jesus changed me as I was asking Him to do so. The times when I had been with Jesus and once again realized more of His great love for me, were the times where I could go out, filled with compassion and love for these girls, because I had experienced and was so overwhelmed by Jesus’ love for me.
If you want to show compassion, don’t try to do it on your own. Spend time with Jesus, focus on His great love and care for you; take time to study His compassionate character and let your heart be drawn to Him in thankfulness. Then His healing love will begin to flow out from your life to bless the people around you.