“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” -2 Corinthians 1:3

What word best describes the way you feel when you watch a dear friend in agony? What is the word you wrap around your feelings when you see pictures on television of starving refugees in Africa, or earthquake victims in Armenia? It probably is the word “compassion.”

We use that word frequently yet hardly give its true meaning much thought. I looked up compassion in the dictionary and discovered that the first part of the word means “with,” and the second part means “that which relates to the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.” Amazing what you find in some dictionaries!

When you feel compassion, you experience what Christ feels. And when you say you have compassion for someone, you are standing with that person, agonizing with him, and suffering as though you were in his shoes. Just as Christ placed himself on the cross on our behalf, we are demonstrating compassion when we take on the cross that someone else is bearing.

God doesn’t want you to merely feel deeply about a person in heartbreaking circumstances. Aren’t you glad that Jesus did more than just “feel bad” about your sin? He went much further than pitying our sad situation. He put himself in our place, and His love has given new meaning to the word “compassion.

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Father of compassion, please use me today to reach out to someone in need. Help me not to just feel hurt and pain for their situation, but use me to help lighten their load. Jesus carried my cross so please grant me Your compassion so I may carry the cross of another who needs Your hope and encouragement.
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