Compassion for Souls
Chris' Corner -- March 13, 2022
Christians should do their very best to demonstrate love, compassion, and respect toward people who are non-believers. It may be hard to get past the sins and demeanor of sinners, but there is nothing more detrimental to the cause of Christ than for His people to be perceived as negative, mean-spirited, and disrespectful toward anyone.
The apostle Peter wrote, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
We have an easier time acting with love, compassion, and a cheerful disposition toward Christians within the body of Christ. However, the New Testament teaches Christians ought to be people of compassion and kindness, not only toward one another but also toward those outside our church family. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10, emphasis added). Having compassion for basic human needs should be at the center of the Christian life.
This qualification is of such importance; Jesus said it would be considered on Judgment Day. In Matthew 25:31-46, the Lord focused on whether a person was involved in feeding the hungry, giving clothes to those who were naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and the simple act of giving a drink to someone thirsty.
Christ gave us an example of compassion when He fed the 5,000. He does not demand a miracle, but He does show us the heart that brought about the feeding of so many. The Bible says that He saw the multitudes and had compassion for them, for they were sheep without a shepherd. The result was people who were filled physically and spiritually.
We should remember Christ’s character the next time someone drops by needing food or other necessities. Our compassion should look beyond the immediate physical condition to the soul with more significant spiritual needs. Again, compassion should include teaching the truths of salvation. Even if someone has been enabled by taking advantage of the compassionate hearts of Christian people, they too must hear about Christ’s love and redemption.
After being fed, the 5,000 wanted more. They followed for miles across the Sea of Galilee to hunt Jesus down. The Lord was honest and frank with them and revealed their motives. But even so, He taught them some more. Many went away empty-handed, but they heard the truth, which may have changed their lives later.
For ourselves, we must remember the spirit requires heavenly food far more than our body needs earthly food (Luke 12:23). As Paul said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).