People Need Sympathy (Part 2)

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Notice two words in this verse:

“Harassed”

“Helpless”

These two words may refer to sheep surrounded by wild dogs and feeling helpless. They are fatigued from waging a winless battle. They feel dejected and defeated. They feel burned out by the stresses of life they feel unprepared to handle. They look for escape, but find nowhere to go. Their “shepherds”, or leaders, burden them with rituals and laws, but such rules cannot lift them up, and provide no peace. They need help, but they need a caring ear, too.

The word translated “compassion” refers to our inner most being. Faith affects the heart, producing the fruit of the Spirit. One of those fruits is compassion (Colossians 3:12). Many today lack the capacity to show feeling for others. Perhaps their loveless surroundings or upbringing contribute to this inability to feel for others. But Christ changes all that. When He enters our hearts, He gives us the ability to really care for others.

The following verses speak to compassion in deeds:

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” (1 John 3:16-17).

Those walking with God will find it difficult to “close their hearts” against others. As God works in our life, we begin to feel sympathy for the plight of others. We need to come to their aid with sympathy.

When people face the loss of a loved one, we should take our cue from Jesus. He wept at the sight of grieving people. Do we feel sympathy for others facing loss, or do we brush it off as an inevitable fact of life? The world needs sympathy, and we can come to their aid.

Look for ways to show you care and, by extension, that God cares. Often we need to speak comforting words. Always, we need to offer a listening ear. And then God will show us ways to show compassion in deeds of mercy. Thank God for His great compassion on us. And thank Him that He can use us to show mercy on others.

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