Passion. Now, there’s a loaded word. It could mean an intimate physical connection or a strong level of motivation or the final days of Jesus’ life on earth.
With God, it’s all of the above:
His hands formed us in our mothers’ wombs.
His love motivates us to love one another.
His suffering on our behalf makes knowing Him possible.
Let’s face it, “Our God is full of compassion” (Psalm 116:5).
Since com in Latin means “with,” and pati means “to bear, to suffer,” this is patience (last week’s study) taken to the next level.
After all, we can show patience toward someone from a distance, but compassion? That’s far more personal, more involved, more…well, passionate.
It’s not waiting. It’s doing.
It’s not watching. It’s helping.
When we’re in pain, we don’t want someone to feel sorry for us, pity us, or say, “Too bad, so sad.” We want someone to walk beside us, share our burden, and say, “I love you. Let me help.”
This is what God does, beloved.
He walks beside us.
He bears our suffering.
He is with us. And He is for us.
Want the world to know what it means to be loved by God? Don’t show them how strong you are. Show them how weak you are. Then show them God’s strength, God’s mercy, God’s compassion.
Not, “Look at me in Jesus!” But, “Look at Jesus in me.”
The feminine form of the word racham in Hebrew gives compassion a deeper spin, because it also means “womb.” When we care for someone enough to help them, it’s because we have a “brotherly feeling” toward them, as if they were “born from same womb.”
Oh, my. Very close indeed. Brothers. Sisters.
If we love God, we can never think in terms of “us / them.” Just “us.”
The wonderful ministry that cares for children in need all over the world is called Compassion International for good reason. It’s a reminder that we are called to “be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32), just as the Lord has been kind and compassionate to us.
The Greek word means “tenderhearted”—literally, “having strong bowels” (sorry). Think of it as feeling gut-level sympathy for someone. The kind that makes you reach for your wallet, reach for your passport, and above all, reach for God’s hand, as you reach out to the world, near and far.
Compassion begins with God: the One who is with you, the One who bears your burdens. Let go, my friend. Let Him carry you.
Trust in this glorious truth: “His compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).
He will never let go.
He will never turn away.
He will always see you through.
Could you take a moment to Share Your Thoughts about what God’s compassion means to you? You’ll find a link below. I read and cherish each one, and love how you encourage one another!
Your grateful sister, Liz
One of my favorite names for Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. His compassion is just that – with us, for us. I’m so thankful that His compassion never fails and is new each morning – forgetting what’s behind moving forward in Him.
Just what I needed to hear this morning as I grab my passport and head to the airport bound for Rwanda with The Rafiki Foundation.
I can have compassion for others because God has had compassion for me. He fulfills all my needs so that I may help others in need. I am weak, but He is strong; and I love because He first loved me. It’s all Him. It’s all grace.
I recall a time this fall when I was speaking with a friend and trying to sort out some past hurts. Our conversation went to a place where it was “they did” or “they said” . Later that night as I was think and praying, the Lord showed me just what you have described, they are not they, they are us. When we look at brothers and sisters through eyes of compassion we can forgive, pray for them and our own emotions can be healed.
Words cannot describe our God. He is worthy of our praise!
Liz, you are spot on about those who are in pain needing not pity, or sadness, but compassion and help. That truth has been not so easily ingrained in me this past year. Emmanuel…God with us.
I am so glad that God’s compassion never fails. Because, this is where I fail most. Compassion isn’t a neat beautiful package wrapped up with a pretty bow. Compassion is emotional, messy, ugly, and drama filled; and I loath drama. Fortunately or unfortunately, whether I meant to or not, my children have learned to hate drama and the messy stuff in life. I don’t want to get involved in the struggles of my neighbors. I don’t want to be the one someone always turns to for help. But that is not what God has called us to be. Love your neighbor as your self is a very strong commandment and guess what, we are meant to get emotional and messy. We are suppose to face the ugly and get involved in the drama of those around us near and far. Jesus is the greatest example of compassion. So my prayer is for an increase in compassion just like Jesus had. We are to be like Jesus and this is not a character trait that we want to avoid. Blessings fellow drama haters. Look to God, he is the only one to change our hearts. He is compassionate enough to do it.
Great thoughts Louis! As a sister drama hater, I am now feeling challenged to get messy. Thanks for your insight.
Having compassion for someone is taking the time to get into the whys of who they are, their actions and reactions to any given situation. Then it is accepting them where they are at and offering yourself as a guidepost.
I am so glad that God is a compassionate God because I need it everyday! I have to have little talks with myself to remind me, that what He gives me, I am to freely give to others. I agree with Louise, it is messy and ugly and hard to do most times, especially when you don’t want to get into everyone’s drama! I rely on Him to work it through me and it has been beautiful, even if I don’t want to give it away. For me, it has opened doors for me to speak into younger peoples lives and I pray that through that, He will draw them to Him. Its not about me, its about Him and the work He gives us to do. Without Him, I am nothing. Thank you for the reminder Liz!
Oh my gosh, Liz. This is so timely. I just came back from the Dominican Republic as one of the first bloggers with a Compassion sponsor tour. I’ve seen them in action and had my bowels moved. 😉 I saw love. I saw hope. I was broken in a way I’ve never been before–even after doing orphan care in Haiti. And I’ve never felt so complete. I’ve been writing about it on my blog.
Oh, and another thing… our church’s “motto” is:
Passion for Christ
Compassion for Others
Sandra, I just read about you in Michella DeRusha’s blog about marking up your Bible. I loved that you do this!! When I taught 9th grade English, I let my students use different colored markers or pens to identify certain parts of the sentence, verb tense, etc. They loved it!!! Why I didn’t think to do this with my Bible is beyond me. 😉 If you have any tips, I’d appreciate them. I also went to your site!!! God brings His children together through His word and the people who love His word, such as Liz. I was introduced to Liz when she did a video with Ann VosKamp last Christmas, and I do love me some Ann VosKamp!!
Well, I just thought I’d let you know that I will probably become a fan of yours now. I also had 3 children that I sponsored with Compassion International.
Praising God for bringing you into my life,
He is with us into a future we do not see. Only He sees what will happen but He is already in front as well as behind us.
He is eternal. He was. He is. He is to come forever.
Oh my goodness! This so made my day! I just happened to stroll over here to browse the comments. I’m glad I didn’t miss you. You’re so smart to have taught your kiddos to use their colors. I’ll bet it slowed them down and caused them to pay better attention–besides which, when they were done “playing,” they had such a pretty page. 🙂
I suggest you mosey over to Precept’s website and do some exploring. You can download a free Bible study guide. Then click on “shop” and explore all the resources and studies there. Click on “getting started” and take a look at the “How to Study Your Bible” book. There’s also a workbook that accompanies it. Those are the best tips I can give at the moment. Maybe you’ll want to go deeper and join a class–either online or in person near you. 🙂
I love how even the Internet is hot-wired for God and that He’s connecting His people here to shine a light into its darkness–all over the world.
I’m super delighted to meet you–and that you sponsored three Compassion children made me smile even bigger!
Hugs to you, friend.
God has been so compassionate, loving in my life. I’m in the process of writing down the several big moments in my life that God has been their to guide me, hold me, save me from myself, call to me, direct me. Everyday he is with us, passionate about us, loving us.
My friend is showing God’s compassion as she grieves the loss of her husband to ASL. Both shared their journey on Facebook . Their faith in God , their trust and love for God is evident in each post. Now she is sharing her grief and how God is still with her. After reading your article I realized she is showing God’s compassion through her weakness . Thank you Liz for helping us understand God’s Word .
“He is FOR you.” This is a powerful statement to remember when life’s hiccups leave me topsy-turvy. Thanks, Liz , for all your encouragement along the way as He fine-tunes my walk with Him.
For a while now I’ve been meditating on the phrase “In the beginning, God….” He was in it with us, in the beginning. From the point of creation to the Fall, until now, God has continually bestowed His compassion on us.
It isn’t until I pause to consider that I should really receive God’s wrath that I can truly be grateful for God’s compassion, made possible because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. When I slow down, I see more. I see my condition. I see those hurting around me. I see the opportunities where I can be used by God to bring compassion into the world in which I live.
Psalm 25:6 Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
I am blessed with a number of dear friends & wonderful sisters & brothers in Christ, but my closest relatives distain me & speak evil about me & to me. When I remember Jesus’ passion & God’s compassion for me, He helps me carry on.
God’s compassion means to me that while I was yet a sinner, He died for me. Praise Him! Thank You, Jesus.
Right now, compassion is being showered on me by my church family. I am a retired widow who worked extra years to pay off a car that I intend to be the last car I will ever have to buy. On Jan. 20 a deer hit the driver’s side of the car and caused a lot of damage but it was still drivable. The garage can’t get to it until Feb. 2nd. Last Sunday I had three of my grandchildren in the car and was “rear-ended” by a young man. This damage is much more severe. More importantly, my six year old grand daughter who was buckled up in her booster seat felt the car seat go up and she has a knot on her head. EMTs checked her out and said she seemed to be OK.
My church family has come to my aid with offers of rides, cars to borrow and advice on how to deal with the insurance company.
I do appreciate each one of them and their prayers. I am hoping that my car won’t be called “totaled” because I ‘m not sure I can afford car payments again since I am retired. I have Matthew 6:26 in front of me and I keep telling myself it will be OK and not to worry over something so silly as a car but saying it and doing it are two very different things.
I am just so thankful that I have a compassionate God and Father and He has given me a wonderful church family.
A long time ago someone defined compassion as “your pain in my heart.” Whenever I remember this, I am convicted of how little room I leave in my heart for the pain and the words and the needs of others, because I’m so full of my own “stuff.”
I love that. Your pain in my heart. That describes compassion
This week at our ladies bible study we were talking about the subject of prayer. In John 17:20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” KJV we were discussing the fact that Jesus prayed for us before we became his born again believer and before we were in our mother’s womb. A comment was made – Wow this is probably why his mercies are new each morning = he renews our relationship daily with God in his prayers and even the forgiveness of our sins, we may not be up to par with our sins confessed but he is because he took them ALL on the cross. Thank God that our mercies are new each morning and we can start over with a renewed relationship because of his mercy. To me this is what compassion means= to be fully renewed each day and not because we do everything right but because he (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit are praying for us for things we do not know how or when to pray. Thank you Jesus for teaching us compassion and help us to pray for others and for ourselves. And from that verse we noticed the importance of sharing his word with others because Jesus said the words the disciples would share would be delivered to us in the future. ( but for them also which shall believe on me through their word) their word = the disciples word shared.
I meant the disciples sharing the word of God – not their own words 🙂
Thanks Liz for the series. I am learning some real truths about God. Have to read this one again and and meditate on it.
His compassion for me means when I mess up [and I do more than I want to admit] He is faithful and just in forgiving me. He picks me up, dusts me off, and reassures me His LOVE for has not changed. Oh how I love JESUS!
We tend to think of compassion as some big or global action. We need to remember it’s as simple as touching a shoulder, acknowledging a hurt or just saying “I am here”. It’s serving right where you are. It costs nothing but may require some piece of your heart
I agree, Joanne. Compassion can be big and it can be global which is a wonderful thing. It means you touch lives and make a difference. But compassion can also be simple and close to home. I think love and compassion all start at home and radiate outward like a pebble that’s been thrown in the water. We can raise our children to be compassionate and make a difference in the world one kindness at a time. Compassion to me is knowing that Jesus loves us and died for us even though we are unworthy. Very humbling and inspiring.
Once upon a time I was a bitter, angry & self righteous person. I was married to an alcoholic and I had what felt like the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I certainly had the weight of my whole family resting squarely on my heart. I built up some walls that were almost completely impenetrable- I thought if I let my guard down, my whole world would crumble into a million pieces. This was a hard spot to be in! I prayed and prayed for my husband to be healed and my marriage to be renewed. What I have received (so far) is a different kind of miracle- a softening of my heart. God has been so patient and compassionate with me! He has given me eyes to see my husband as the precious child of God that he is and He has given me a tender heart for everyone suffering from addiction (the addict and the friends & family). This is a miracle. I am still married to an alcoholic, but instead of all the anger and fear I used to feel, I feel grateful that God has been so patient with me. I am a work in progress! Praise God!
Thank you for sharing your experience. I pray for the Holy Spirit to have compassion through me with a family member. I want Christ to give me compassion, and see with the eyes of Christ.
He has shown me so much compassion, and I need him to do the same through me to others.
God bless you Sister.
I’ll pray for you.
What a great accomplishment!!!. You give me encouragement.
Hey chicks! I love this scripture! It always ministers to me. His mercies are new every morning! Great is thy faithfulness. When I think of answered prayer this year -this scripture comes to me. It comforts me. Bless you all.
This post today made me think of the poem “Footprints”. When Jesus walks beside me there are 4 footprints in the sand but one day there were only 2. This was because Jesus was carrying me. Compassion!
Compassion explains God’s amazing love for us. He loved us when we were sinners and called us to himself miraculous ways. He is always with us…leading us ..guiding us to being his hands and feet to reach out to those in our paths to minister in special ways to pour compassion onto others.
Compassion is what the good Samaritan had for the man who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. When no one else wanted anything to do with this poor victim of crime, the Samaritan took it upon himself to care and take responsibility for him. Even when he had to leave to conduct his business, he asked the keeper of the inn to watch over the sick man and he would pay the keeper back when he returned. This falls under loving thy neighbor and treating them, or anyone else, the way we want to be treated.
This applies to those we know who aren’t the most lovable people. You know the ones I’m talking about! They are the ones who give us a hard time for the sake of giving us a hard time. They are always criticizing and nit picky and they tell us we never do anything right. They are the “negative nellies”. I believe they deserve compassion and prayer to soften their hearts and that just might turn them around, that and the grace of God.
It’s not always easy to show compassion to the people I’ve described above and believe me, I have failed miserably many times. I just needed some perspective and wondered what it might be that makes them persnickety and put myself in their shoes. Then I might get the idea of why they act the way they do. Compassion might come a little more easier if we all did that.
God’s compassion is wonderful. I know if I’m having a bad day, I can go to him and he will lift my spirits. My problems may not be solved right then because it may not be his time for that but I just begin to fill lighter!
I try to show compassion every day. I am a teacher and try to set examples to my high school students. I’m constantly telling them not to charge but to have compassion. Pay it Forward to help others. It is such a great feeling! ****Praise Jesus!!!!
Sorry meant to say judge not charge 🙂
Gods compassion to me is His beautiful surprises and Love that is always and Forever! It is waking each morning to begin in prayer sure He will see me through .Trusting His will and being a blessing to someone each day is the dream.
Thank you for your study on patience and compassion. God’s love for us is amazing. How can I help but smile and be filled with gratitude? Then the words of an old hymn came to mind and know it was based on Lamentations 3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. The words are:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, As Thou hast been,Thou forever wilt be.
Refrain: Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above; Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
thank you for that hymn i love it too!
GOD’s compassion to me means Life! For without His Love I would be lost, distant, in rebellion, without GOD!!! Because of His Great Love & Compassion, Jesus Christ came and paid for me to have Life and Life Abundantly!!!
Overjoyed & filled to the Fullness of GOD, because and only because of GOD’s Compassion!!!
Still have tough days, hard moments, loneliness, but not despair!
To GOD be ALL THE GLORY!!!
Compassion is to not judge others, we never know exactly why someone does what they do. A warm heart
Liz god has been compassion to me time and time again; this enables me to have compassion for my brothers and sisters when they have hurts and need His reassurance passed through me. What a responsibility; what a privilege.
Each time I receive one of your e-mails, I copy one of the pictures with Bible verses you incorporate in your message and set this as a background for my computer screen so that I can reflect on the message and enjoy the beautiful picture each time I look at my computer daily when working.
First, I would like to say I am deeply moved by your request for prayer and I would like for you to know that I am praying for your mother-in-law.
Second, In regard to your Blog on “The Compassion Of God” I believe one defininition on compassion according to Websters Dictionary means to Literally, suffering with another; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another. In Psalm 116:5New International Version (NIV)5 says, The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion. Simply, He died for you and I. How wonderful and profound. I got it……
Thank you, Ms Higgs
Compassion means to me that I have a God who loves me through everything. Loves me when I don’t like myself…loves me when I let Him down…delights in me when I can see so much not to be delighted about. He is passionate for me. It is amazing and a mystery. And He would rather have died than live without me! Thank you Jesus!
This weekend I have been willing to develop a friendship with a guy at church. Previously had a chance to have a quick chat and share a testimony. Prayed to see him in church and did but avoided him because I was afraid to be compassionate because I didn’t want him to think I had feelings other than a friendship. On the bus home I could hear God telling me to things 1. the fruits of the spirit gentleness, kindness are ok to give, and 2. love and time are an investment for friendship. After reading your article about compassion I realised that Gods love/ compassion is demonstrated through my compassion for others. I realise that my true nature to develop friendships was hindered by showing compassion to a person who manipulated me to getting what they wanted. I thank God and Jesus because I have come to this understanding and refuse to let fear and my past to stop me from showing compassion to others. God bless Liz for sharing your gift.
Thankful to be reminded that the Lord will never let go, never turn away and always see me through! I pray I remember this as I encounter those around me who need my compassion that shows His love. Liz lifting up your family in prayer during this difficult time. Loved your story about joy♥
Liz! This post. Thank you for this word. For chipping away and digging up this truth. It was such a gift to meet you at Allume last year. I hope I see so much of you in 2015. You are a gem!
I love the thought that the Lord is right there with us carrying our burdens. The problem I have is letting go of those burdens. I love the reminder of it is US and not an us/them. I am looking forward to reading more of these posts and words of encouragement. I am a sahm of 5 children – one with intellectual and physical disabilities. We are home alot! I am so glad that I came upon this! Just what I needed :0)
I’ve lost sense of compassion after giving in care of seniors. I’ve lost it being taken advantage of by too many young men when i was of dating age. I became cynical and chose singleness.
I’m not very sympathetic toward an 80 year old friend who is terrified of a heart attack when she is perfectly healthy. She spends bunches of her insurance on needless trips to the doctor for all sorts ills for no apparent reason. My mother died at 81 of a heart and she was sick. I’ve seen many serious illness in my years of caring for seniors and she is not grateful for what God has given her.
I’m frustrated because I love her but she refuses to see her gift!
I am duly chastised by myself for not being more sympathetic of her fears of dying alone.
You’ve shown me how really close I am to her, but I can’t feel compassion for her. I guess I must just DO IT!!!!!
It amazes me that all the compassion our Lord has. That no matter how many times we failed Him, He still loves us and cares about us. And I think He loves it when we do go to Him. You know I think like you have said in one of your books,( which I have and have read all of them so I can not remember which one) like our parents who love when we come to them and talk so does our Father Lord Jesus, loves it when we come and just talk to Him, visit with Him. Yes it is this sisters feelings that there are none can compare to our Lords compassion that He has for us.
To me, God’s compassion means that in my time of need, not only is HE with me but he sends others. A meal, flowers, a card, a note, a phone call. Whatever. What I used to view as a very small thing when I did it now is rife with meaning in my hour (days, weeks) of need. No gesture is too small and it is all because of God. We love because he first loved us.
I always felt the compassion of our Lord. What I also noticed about compassion it is behavior emotion and I feel it needs to be taught, passed on or shown to others. Some emotions are automatic for us. Love, sadness, happiness, are those type of emotions. Many people in our world today lack the ability to feel compassionate toward others. And I have heard us people vent out at our Lord asking and wondering how can He let sickness or tragedy happen? I always think “Compassion” Our Lord is teaching you about compassion, wanting you to reach out and comfort those that are hurting or in need. His compassion for us (what I feel He has shown me, taught me and is still learning) is meant to be shared with others. “Do onto others”
You wrote from the Latin, in essence “to suffer with”. I think that is such a perfect description of ‘compassion’. It’s a little hard to describe but we sure know it when we see it in someone!
This was beautiful Liz!
Thanks so much for your wonderful insight in great truths.