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Compassion, the Gospel, and Us

An amazing thing about compassion is that because of God, it’s indestructible.

This Sunday we continued our series on the character of Christ. Taking examples from remarkable people like Mother Teresa, we saw what true Christ-empowered compassion really looks like. And along with forgiveness, humility and love, as Christians we are called to clothe ourselves (Colossians 3:12) with compassion as we represent Christ to the world. Mother Teresa’s life undeniably embodies compassion both in her everyday and through specific events; like when she convinced the committee that awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize to use the finances for her awards dinner to feed 400 starving children…for a year.

But the message of compassion is never complete if it doesn’t begin where this post started.

To understand compassion, we turn our gaze to the author of it, during history’s greatest demonstration of it. It is at the cross of Jesus Christ that we survey the full breadth of compassion’s majestic landscape; when God came down to lift us up. Every one of us – like the helpless children that Mother Teresa gave her life to serve – is the poorest of the poor, and in desperate need of the compassion of the Saviour who gave his life so that we could live. At the cross we see the fullness of God’s heart towards the world displayed. Compassion beyond comparison.

Compassion isn’t always comfortable. It’s rarely clean, and things can get complicated; but Jesus didn’t sell a false religion when he said “whoever would lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s will find it” (Mark 8:35). Let’s make every effort to hold both of these things in balance; we lose our lives through living God’s agenda of love and compassion to the world, but we remember always that it is only in the transformation of the sinner’s heart through the application of the gospel that our ministry bears fruit that will last.

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