God commands us to have compassion.
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: “
Compassion in this verse means sympathy (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible # G4835), and it roots back to a word that means “to experience pain jointly” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries #G4841). Therefore, it is not simply feeling sorry for someone, it is the deeper sympathy that we call empathy today.
The Bible teaches in many contexts that the feelings of compassion are to move us to take action to end the other person’s suffering.
Compassion moves us to help other’s in crises.
Luke 10:33-35 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”
Compassion moves us to share the gospel with others in love.
Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
Jude 1:22-23a And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;
Compassion moves us to forgive others.
Luke 15:20-24 “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
Matthew 1827-35 “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Compassion moves us to help others with daily needs.
James 2:15-17 “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
1 John 3:17 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
In closing, compassion is one trait that is waning in the world and the church today. the Bible says in Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” More and more people won’t even give to those in need anymore.
Furthermore, a lot of people will still give to those in need, but instead of giving with an attitude of compassion, they just do with an attitude of pride and look down on those they give too.
Many people also give just to look good, or for financial gain by getting a tax break.
God commands us to have compassion (empathy) for others. Some ways we are to fulfill this command is by helping those who are in crises, sharing the gospel in love with the lost, forgiving those who have wronged us or who owe us, and helping the destitute with daily needs.
As Christians we are to be a light to the world. We cannot do that without having true compassion for others.