If you do a search on the internet for the phrase “Have a heart” you’re going to be amazed at the vast diversity of things using that appeal to your emotions.
At one end of the spectrum there’s a charity by that name dedicated specifically to helping childhood cancer victims. Another volunteer group using this name helps failing student in their community. And also a puppy rescue volunteer group. Several marijuana shops operate under the “have a heart” brand, though I’m missing the connection there. And there are even a full line of animal traps that only trap (and do not kill) the animal.
Our verse today is an instruction to have a heart. It says YOU MUST BE COMPASSIONATE, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IS COMPASSIONATE.
The word COMPASSION literally means suffering with another. When we choose to be compassionate we are choosing to allow ourselves to feel the pain that another is going through. And make no mistake, compassion IS a choice.
We live in a world where we are bombarded by images of pain and suffering. The natural reaction to that is to become calloused, and to build a wall around our hearts. It is not possible for a person to emotionally engage with all of the pain we see, both digitally and in real life. But we must never allow the fact that we cannot do EVERYTHING to make us comfortable with doing NOTHING.
Paul is very clear in his instruction — YOU MUST BE COMPASSIONATE
You MUST be. We cannot simply hide behind the walls of our hearts and choose NOT to engage. That’s a temptation, and one I battle. But we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ to a world that is engulfed in a battle it does not comprehend. There is an enemy who is determined to steal, kill and destroy. The world does not see him and his forces at work. He has the advantage of stealth.
As I write this devotional today I am just across the street from one of the more popular museums in Washington Dc, it is the International Spy Museum. Every nation in the world uses spies to accomplish missions that require secrecy and cover to accomplish. Whether gathering intelligence for future operations or conducting covert missions to accomplish specific goals, there is a distinct advantage to be had by operating under the radar of your enemy. This is a strategy that OUR ENEMY uses. However, we who know Christ are aware of the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in.
So, knowing the battle we fight, we need to make the choice of obedience. YOU MUST BE COMPASSIONATE.
And the reason WE must be compassionate is because our Heavenly Father is compassionate. He has chosen to take a part in our suffering. He stepped into our world, took hold of our pain, and did what we were unable to do.
He’s the example of our call to compassion. We are called to be compassionate JUST AS He is compassionate.
So, look around you. Where can you step in to do something that is beyond the capacity of the person you choose to touch in the name of Christ? We cannot do everything, but neither can we do nothing. Not if we are obedient disciples.
YOU MUST BE COMPASSIONATE, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IS COMPASSIONATE