We are working our way through the Beatitudes here at Joy Pursued, and today I am excited to have Amber from With His Unfailing Love here to talk about the fifth Beatitude. If you new around here, you can find the introduction to the series here, and see all the posts from the Beatitude series here.
It started as an ordinary day at school. I scheduled appointments to work with students. I carefully situated all my materials and prepared myself to meet another learner.
The teacher explained this next situation was a little complicated. The student had some special circumstances. She spoke about him with such compassion, and her care, made me care.
When he walked in and sat down at the table, I could tell how much he wanted to do well. He kept anxiously erasing his work and starting over.
“Is this the right answer?” he asked. I told him, “there are no right or wrong answers for this assessment, just do your best.”
He had one minute to complete the informal assessment.
“Don’t worry about the time. That’s for me, okay?” I tried to give him a reassuring smile.
It took everything for me to hold back my tears. He was so smart but unable to express his thoughts. As I watched him struggle, I wanted to give him whatever he needed. I wanted to help.
It was so easy to show compassion to this little person. It is an honor to help scholars reach their full potential.
But what happens when I’m asked to show mercy to someone I don’t want to help?
Oh man, it sounds bad to say that. But isn’t it true? We aren’t always in the mood to show compassion. Especially to someone that hurt us.
But our God is a compassionate God.
“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6, NLT)
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:37, NLT)
And we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27, NLT), and called to possess the qualities of Christ, despite our feelings.
The Good Samaritan
In a well-known parable, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan.
Here is the Amber version of the story, but please read the full version (Luke 10:30-37).
A Jewish man was traveling down to Jericho and ran into some unfortunate events. He was left half dead on the side of the road.
Three possible helpers had their chance to demonstrate compassion and mercy. First up, a priest. Now this is someone you want to run into when in need of help…
Oh wait, the story goes on to say he walked by on the other side of the street.
Then there was the Temple Assistant. Ok, there is still a chance. Well no, he “walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:32, NLT)
Just when it looked like all hope was gone, a Samaritan came along. The New Living Translation says “a despised Samaritan.” So we can assume he was an enemy.
His response was different.
“Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.” (Luke 10:34-36, NLT)
Man, talk about doing more than expected. In a previous post I explored how to react to those who wrong us. Sometimes it is necessary to do more than expected of us.
Jesus ends the parable by asking, “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” The original point of this parable was designed to demonstrate who Jesus considers our neighbor.
But in true Jesus style, He manages to demonstrate how His love is shown through compassion and mercy for others.
Jesus ends by saying “Yes, now go and do the same.”
How can we use this example in our daily lives when it comes to showing compassion and mercy to our neighbors (including the enemy)?
3 Ways to Cultivate Compassion
1. Be aware
Could you imagine if the Samaritan was on his phone browsing through social media? He might have missed the opportunity to be a blessing. In a world where it’s easy to be distracted, it is important to be in the moment and “see” our surroundings.
2. Do Something
It isn’t enough to just feel compassion; we must allow those feelings to turn into action— to do more than we have to, and to sacrifice what we have in order to help others.
The Samaritan gave his donkey. He provided money, he provided first-aid. What can we do?
3. Ask for Compassion
Compassion may not be automatic for everyone. Unfortunately, our own experiences can sometimes make us less compassionate. If you are a person in need of help with this area, pray and ask God.
Ask Him to help you see people as He sees them. So you can love as He loves. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, for discernment, and wisdom.
You have not because you do not ask.
Father, thank You for Your mercy and compassion. Thank You for creating us in Your image. Help us to love people well. Help us to show compassion and mercy as You do. Help us to do what is right in your eyes. In the might name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
What are some practical ways you can show compassion to those in your life? Let’s brainstorm together in the comments!
Amber is a full time itinerant teacher, enjoys sky-stalking, a good laugh often, and writing in her journal. She currently leads a small group in her home and encourages women at her personal blog, “With His Unfailing Love… Living Life His Way.” She has a passion to help women seek God first and be the light in this world through loving God, loving others, and loving ourselves. You can find her at With His Unfailing Love, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.