© 2021 Philip M Spence
In the Kingdom of God, compassion and kindness combine as love in action. Just as faith without works is dead, so love without action is mere sentiment. It has been well said that good intentions never did anything, and sentiment is merely a feeling that won’t produce an outcome. In this Kingdom of Kindness, we must be moved with compassion and act in kindness.
In the gospels the expression ‘moved with compassion’, or to ‘have compassion’, occurs twelve times, and is always in the context of Jesus reaching out to someone. The Greek phrase used by gospel writers Matthew and Mark in the original writings is ‘Splanchnizomai’, which is translated as having or being moved with compassion. It literally means ‘to have the bowels yearning’.
There is nothing superficial about this. There is no mere mental assent, or religious sentiment when the Bible speaks of being compassionate. This is a force within the heart that cannot be restricted, but which motivates us to action. Jesus couldn’t restrain Himself from showing kindness because He was so moved with compassion. Whether He encountered an individual or was surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Jesus was always compassionate.
Jesus Had Compassion
Jesus had compassion because He is love. He doesn’t find it in His heart to love; nor does He have to determine to love; He loves because He is love. Love and compassion are intrinsic to His nature and His make-up as God. He cannot do anything else but have compassion because He is love.
If He is within us, the love of God is in us. If He is within us, and has compassion, then we also have compassion within us. If we are in Christ, then we have compassion just as He has compassion. This compassion comes from the ‘Agape’ kind of love and transcends prejudices, politics, and personal agendas. We have compassion because it is part of the nature of God within us.
Jesus was Moved with Compassion
Jesus’ primary motivation in dealing with people and their needs was to be compassionate. His initial response to people wasn’t to judge them, be wary of them, or categorise them according to Jewish prejudice. Jesus demonstrated kindness because He was motivated by love and compassion.
Kindness comes from hearts that are moved to do good for others. Acts of kindness come from hearts that are moved to make a difference in someone else’s life. Being moved with compassion means that what we feel begins to translate into a plan of action. Being moved with compassion means that we can’t ignore the situation at hand, and we begin to formulate a response to what we observe or feel.
Jesus Acted with Compassion
Jesus acted with compassion when confronted by people who were sick, bound, and imprisoned. He acted with compassion when confronted by people who were outcasts, affected by prejudices, and had practical needs. He also acted with compassion when confronted by people who needed to be delivered, taught, and restored to wholeness. Jesus acted to change the circumstances of those who couldn’t do it for themselves.
There are many examples of compassion leading to action that changed lives wherever Jesus went. He had compassion on a hungry crowd and fed them. He had compassion on a frazzled crowd and mobilised His disciples to pray for them. Everywhere Jesus went, and whatever situation He encountered, His compassion became action that always made a difference.
The above is an excerpt from the book A Kingdom of Kindness. To download your copy, go to Amazon.com or click the button below: