Investing whatever is necessary
to heal the
hurts of others
Stop to help.
Listen when others want to talk.
Give of my resources to help those in need.
Look for lasting solutions.
Comfort others without regard to race, gender,
faith, age, or nationality.
Used with permission of Character Training Institute
Learn about true compassion, be extravagant in giving compassion, and praise others for their compassionate responses.
BECOMING LIKE CHRIST IN COMPASSION: Often we think of God as a lawgiver, a judge, a disciplinarian, but what is God’s heart? Even in those seemingly harsh areas, his goal is to make you all He created you to be – in His image and reflecting His glory. His heart is to heal all the hurts that sin has caused. The Bible is a wonderful story of God’s compassion: He knew the only way to really heal the hurts of mankind was to send His only begotten, beloved Son to earth to live as a man and to become an atoning sacrifice. Meditate on John 3:16 as the ultimate expression of compassion for you. What is the wonderful descriptive name for God in II Corinthians 1:3?
Our goal of being Christ-like in character demands compassion: Colossians 3:12, I Peter 3:8-9.
Look up scriptures about the compassion of Jesus Christ; discuss who in that passage needed compassion, why, and what Jesus did in response. Are there these same types of people needing compassion today? When we see them, do we have a heart of compassion like Christ? Do we allow God to show His compassion to them through us?
Matthew 9:35-38 Matthew 23:37-39 John 3:16-17
Matthew 13:13-21 Mark 1:40-42 John 8:1-11
Matthew 15:32, Mark 8:1-10 Mark 6:34 John 11:32-44
Matthew 20:29-34 Luke 7:11-17 John 13:1-5
In Matthew 11:1-6, the imprisoned John the Baptist sent his disciples to see if Jesus was really the Messiah sent from God. What was the proof He gave? Notice that Jesus did not respond with his correct “doctrine” but with His work of compassion? How would this have answered John’s question? How does compassion by God’s people open the door for God’s truths? Consider the common adage: “They won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Often people see God in the Old Testament as a vengeful and harsh God, but look up these OT scriptures about God’s compassion:
Exodus 3:7-10 Psalm 86:15 Jeremiah 12:15
Deuteronomy 30:1-5 Psalm 145:8,9 Lamentations 3:22--33
II Chronicles 36:15-16 Hosea 11:3-4 Micah 7:18-20
HEALING HURTS: Roots of the word compassion mean “to suffer together.” It goes past sympathy (feeling sorry for them) or empathy (feeling their pain) to bearing or suffering with another person with the goal of healing his/her hurts – to do what you can to resolve the pain.
BARRIERS TO COMPASSION: Why is it hard at times to show compassion and do what is necessary to heal the hurts of others? Use the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 to see what happens when we overcome barriers to compassion. Divide into smaller groups, with each one assigned one of these barriers to compassion in order to find insights into it in the parable.
(From Compassion character bulletin, series 2)
Consider how Jesus fulfilled these three principles as he walked through life.
BEING A HEALER: Compassion involves responding to the hurts of others, whether these hurts affect the body, the soul, or the spirit. Using medical analogies, how can we cleanse the wound, ease the pain, set the bones, stitch the cut, administer medicine, etc.? In the body, the “healer” really removes as many obstacles as possible, but the victim’s body must do the healing itself. Compare this to our role in extending compassion: we can help facilitate healing, but we cannot assume responsibility for the problem. In Galatians 6:2-4, how can we balance “carry each other’s burdens” with “each one should carry his own load”? Why is indifference the opposite to compassion? What happens when we are "indifferent" to disease or wounds in our own bodies?
ZEBRA Read about the zebra in the character bulletin, How does the zebra show compassion to
Who would these groups represent in our lives? What practical instruction does Paul give to Christians in I Thessalonians 5:12-15 about meeting the needs of various groups?
TO WHOM DOES GOD COMMAND US TO SHOW COMPASSION? Give one of the following scriptures to individuals in your family or small group: Psalm 146:5-9, Isaiah 58:6-12 (also notice how God rewards the compassionate), Zechariah 7:8-10 (read the rest of the chapter to see God’s response to those who refused to obey), Matthew 25:31-46,and Luke 4:18-19. From these verses, develop a “master list” of groups that are on God’s heart. In order to make it more real, try to put a face or name with each group. How can we also have God’s heart to show compassion to these special groups?
Poor: Proverbs 14:21; 17:5; Galatians 2:10, James 2:5-7, Isaiah 58:7,10, Luke 12:33
Widows and orphans: James 1:27, Exodus 22:22
Aliens & strangers: Exodus 22:21 and 23:9, Leviticus 19:33, Hebrews 13:2
Other Christians: Galatians 6:9-10
Enemies: Matthew 5:43-6:4
EVALUATING MY COMPASSION (adapted from Disciple’s Journal, Power for True Success, Character Clues)
EXAMPLES OF COMPASSION: With these Biblical examples, search out how each met the needs of others. What investment was required?
ELISHA II Kings 4:1ff This chapter records four of God’s miracles through Elisha: providing money for a poverty-stricken widow (2 Kings 4:1-7); raising a dead boy to life (2 Kings 4:32-37); purifying poisonous food (2 Kings 4:38-41); and providing food for 100 men (2 Kings 4:42-44). These miracles show God’s tenderness and care for those who are faithful to him. (Life Application Bible notes)
When reading the Old Testament, it is easy to focus on God’s harsh judgment of the rebellious and to minimize his tender care for those who love and serve him. To see him at work providing for his followers helps us keep his severe justice toward the unrepentant in proper perspective.
FOUR FRIENDS Mark 2:3 The paralytic’s need moved his friends to action, and they brought him to Jesus. When you recognize someone’s need, do you act? Many people have physical and spiritual needs you can meet, either by yourself or with others who are also concerned. Human need moved these four men; let it also move you to compassionate action. (Life Application Bible notes)
MEPHIBOSHETH II Samuel 4:4; 9:6-7 By precedent and reason, this son of Saul would be seen as a threat to the new king, David. He also had a physical disability. What compassion did David show? What investment did he make? What risk did he take?
THE PRODIGAL SON’S FATHER Luke 15:20 What allowed the father to show compassion on the prodigal? What did he invest? How can we know God’s timing in extending compassion?
DORCAS Acts 9:36-42 This Christian lady had compassion for what group of people? What did she invest? How was her compassion rewarded?
Compiled by Deanna Guy, firstname.lastname@example.org