God Comforted Us So That We May Comfort Others
Reaching a pain-filled world with the relevant message of the gospel requires the compassionate heart of the Savior. Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels is an example to every believer. While others around Him responded to situations out of fear, judgment, or legalism, Jesus was moved with compassion and acted out of love.
The Pharisees saw the disciples picking grain on the Sabbath and condemned them for breaking the law, but Jesus was moved with compassion because His men were hungry. Christ’s exhortation to the Pharisees seems applicable to the twenty-first century church: “If you had know what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent’ (Matthew 12:7 NASB) Like Jesus, a Great Commandment church is as concerned about the pain and aloneness people suffer as it is about thier sin and fallenness.
Unbelievers who enter our doors as seekers, who occupy the office or work bench next to ours, or who live near enough to borrow eggs and sugar often live pain-filled lives. Multitudes of the men, women, teens and children we enounter during the week are victims of one or more of the “plagues” of twentieth-century culture: broken homes, physical violence, sexual abuse, addictions in the home. Yes, these people must eventually deal with their own sin issues in order to receive God’s forgiveness and experience new birth. But will they be drawn to the Savior more effectively by our condemnation of their sin or our compassion for their pain? Christ’s example compels us to share the Good News with these people through the doorway of compassion for them.