I was wandering through the internet, scrolling through some tweets, when I noticed this video and people were asking questions like, “What if we had as much compassion as this 9 year old?” and it got me thinking (as is the point of this blog, to tell the internet my not so random thoughts) about compassion. I can think of several passages from the gospels where it states Jesus was filled with compassion. The first thing people often think of when they hear the word “compassion” is feeling sorrowful. However, there is more to compassion. The dictionary defines compassion as: “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” If we are going to be filled with compassion over anything in this world, we need to go beyond having our heart break and move into action.
This Charity Water video explains how the compassion felt by one 9 year old affected over 60,000 people in places she probably never could have imagined. My hope and prayer isn’t necessarily to make you aware of the amazing ministry and mission of Charity Water (but that might be the reason why you are reading this post, and if it is, STOP READING AND GO DONATE). My question for all of us (myself included) is: does my heart break for what breaks the heart of God? If it does, then what should we do about that? A question I like to ask my students during or after a missions experience is simply: “what broke your heart on the trip?” If we are to be about helping to create God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, being instruments of God’s social justice, then there needs to be redemption in the place we go on mission. Often what I have found is I agree with Mother Teresa who said: “loneliness is the leprosy of modern society.” The work I have seen done by teenagers is incredibly important, houses need to be painted, yards need to be cut. However, the paint will fade, the grass will grow, but the love that is expressed in listening to stories and alleviating the loneliness while doing the mission work is what lasts forever.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, an affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
Pray for God to break your heart for what breaks His, but don’t let the feelings of sympathy and empathy stop there. Accompany those feelings with a desire to alleviate that suffering and do something about it.