Luke 10:25 -37
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
What do you think of when you hear the word compassion?
When used as a noun it is a feeling of distress over the afflictions of others, sometimes translated as mercy. However, it is most often used in the gospels as a verb; it is an action word. You could say being moved…coming with passion to do something. It seems like a good way to describe love.
In Luke 10: 25 – 37 we see a demonstration of compassion that reminds me of what we do at Open Hearts. We are a ministry of compassion.
It is illustrated by the account of the Good Samaritan who when he saw the wounded man felt compassion and this is what he did:
1.Came to him
3.Poured oil and wine on his wounds
4.Put him on his own beast
5.Brought him to an inn
6.Took care of him
7.Gave money for another to help
8.Promised to return
That man, according to the words of Jesus, loved his neighbor well by showing mercy (V 36, 37). Remember that this illustration is the picture Jesus paints with words to describe what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I have discovered that when I allow what happens to me (circumstances or events that might ordinarily bring me to anger or contempt) to go through a grid of compassion, it comes out kinder and I am able to extend mercy and grace.
Recently, I experienced the impact of compassion from a note from one of my daughters. I had sent her some pictures of the last days of my dear high school friend, Beko, who had died following a long illness. She wrote back, “These pictures must be so difficult for you to look at. I am sorry. She is a part of your history that is gone. It makes me happy that you are still alive. I love you forever.”
When I felt her compassion, that she understood, I was able to weep and realize again that being alone in our pain is not healing. The concept of losing a part of my history was a new thought.
I have contemplated this concept this week: ‘Love can be described by a compassionate action. Do something.’ My daughter wrote me a note. The Lord has led me to feel more deeply and move in kind directions. His word is my necessary food. Words are a part of action. Take up a pen and find some paper, and write a note. People save notes and generations later they are read by the family who saved them.
Go sit with a friend who has lost a loved one and listen, touch them and pray for them.
Give your friend a ride to Radiation treatment. Sit and wait.
Bring a bouquet of flowers to your friend undergoing chemo.
Plow out a driveway for neighbors who are too old, or weak to do it themselves. Shovel the walk.
These are some loving compassionate things that have been done for me, that fed my soul and served as memories even now as I think of what it means to love my neighbor and am grateful to those who have loved me well.