Restoring Your Compassion & Reaching The Lost
How many of you would agree with this statement: The older we get, the more we like our habits.
In other words, the older we get, the more “comfortable” we become with our routines. The more we like the way we do things. The more we’re close-minded to changing our ways.
But is this how God wants us to live? No, God wants to make new things. He loves to make new things! It pleases him to restore the old and completely revitalize it with newness. He also wants to take you to a new level of life. And doing so might mean changing (most likely it does). It might also mean getting outside of our comfort zone in order to grow.
Are We Willing?
In the story of the leper, Jesus showed compassion to help a man whose hope of being a normal member of society was long gone. In that day, lepers were never touched, and in fact, they were locked up separately from the rest of society so that they didn’t infect anyone else. But read what Jesus did:
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was moved with compassion. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. (Mark 1:40-42 NIV)
Jesus was “moved with compassion” to touch a man who the rest of society had cast aside; to heal the man’s sickness and bring him new life. And He was willing to do so. This is what Jesus’ time on earth was all about!
In fact, that is what our time on earth is all about too. The story of the leper really represents all people who are lost, cast-out, living sinful lives or otherwise unsaved. The leper is unnamed in this story, but he is representing so many here on earth today.
Are we willing to help today’s lepers?
Are we compassionate to the lost?
Are we ready to embrace and love those who are not “like” us, and who are currently living lives outside of the church?
Are we willing?
Remember, God didn’t send His only Son to earth to be a shepherd to the saved. He sent Jesus to do the saving! And He is relying on us to carry out His work, but are we willing?
Showing True Love
How is compassion in your life moving you to love those around you? Remember what Jesus told us:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34 NIV)
He didn’t tell us to love only those who are like us, or only those who are already coming to church. If we are to reach the lost and be the hands and feet of Jesus, we must feel love for others, rather than just going through the motions. We must love outside of our comfort zone, and even love those who others have cast aside.
Jesus told us to have true, genuine love for our fellow humans “as I have loved you.”
Maybe in your world this means having the compassion to forgive and love a relative who’s caused problems in your family. Or maybe it’s a co-worker who has wronged you. Or maybe it’s someone you don’t even know, but who God has brought into your life for some reason.
Remember that we all lose our cool, we all fail. We are all human. Don’t let your own failings keep you from asking God to restore your compassion for yourself and others. (Even Jesus told us that He who is without sin should cast the first stone on the woman who sinned…and no one is without sin.)
3 Ways to Reach the Lost With Compassion
- Show them a real relationship with Jesus. Be genuine, live it, be sincere and not just following religious traditions and laws.
- Give and sacrifice for something bigger than yourself. Be willing to grow outside of the safety of your own home and family. Life is too big to live so shallow.
- Follow James 1:27, which says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. In other words, do something practical and action-oriented for those who need it. Make a difference through action, not just talk. Give your Christianity wheels, wings, legs…anything to get moving!