What’s the Ugliest Thing in the World?

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17 NLT)

Please bear with me as there is method in the madness: Have you ever been constipated to the point that no matter what you took to help, it seemed to make no difference, the pressure and pain just intensified? The Greek word from which comes our word “compassion” in the verse above literally means “to be moved with compassion or to be moved as to one’s bowels.” The ancients believed the bowels were “the seat of love and pity.”

It was the equivalent of what we might say today: “our heart is breaking.” It was a metaphor to describe the physical discomfort brought about by an emotional attachment to something or somebody we see who is in great need. Then to show compassion by actually interceding and helping bring the accompanying “relief.”

Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate what it might look like to show compassion. And I can hear someone thinking: “That’s all well and good, but what in the world does any of this have to do with the ugliest thing in the world?”

Francis Schaeffer wrote: “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” What does that mean? It essentially means to believe all the right things about Jesus and Christianity, but not allow that knowledge to translate into us helping those in need in our spheres of influence.

Photo by Isabella Mariana on Pexels.com

David Jeremiah wrote in reference to the story of the Good Samaritan: “Jesus’ point was this: Your neighbor is anyone with a need that you are able to meet. Look for a neighbor whose need you might meet.” The Lord has caused my heart to break (my bowels to ache) for my lost and hurting neighbors. Who has He laid on your heart? I love what Bob Pierce wrote: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

If you profess faith in Jesus, yet your heart isn’t breaking for the lost, lonely, and hurting people in your spheres of influence, you may need to check your pulse. We’re not born again to live comfortable, trouble free lives then go to heaven. We’re given His life to share with others. To be a believer in Jesus and be self-focused is a contradiction. Dr. Jeremiah wrote: “Love and compassion always come with a price in time, talent, or treasure—and often, all three.”

There’s enough ugliness in this world without Jesus followers adding to it. May I pray for us:

“Holy Father, cause our hearts to ache to know You so well that Your loving kindness and compassion would just spill out of us in every circumstance we encounter from day to day. May the lens of Your love enable us to recognize in the lives of our family, friends, fellow believers, neighbors, strangers, in short, anyone we encounter, the hurt and pain of their lives. Whether physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, financial, relational, or in whatever other way it may manifest itself, guide us as we seek to be Your eyes and ears, hands and feet, and voice of compassion to enable them to see, hear, and desire You. You alone have the resource of strength they need to find healing and wholeness. Impart to us wisdom, insight, understanding and power that we may accomplish Your purposes as we become Your provision to those in need. We love You and confess our need of Your bountiful provision, not only for us, but for others. In the strong name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.”

Blessings, Ed 😊

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