Are you selective with your compassion, like the Pharisees? Do you prefer to be compassionate on your own terms or only when it benefits you? It’s easy—and tempting—to only show compassion to those who you like (and who like you), to those who look, think, or act like you. It’s hard to show compassion to those who hate you for how you love them or persecute you for your differing beliefs and ideals. It’s much harder to be compassionate to your enemies. But this is exactly the radical level of compassion Jesus calls us to exemplify in our lives.
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Practice The Way of Jesus:
In the Gospels, Jesus is often described as someone with compassion (Luke 7:13, Matthew 9:36, Matthew 20:34 etc). How would others describe you? This week, imitate the way and heart of Jesus. Take a moment to notice the needs of the people around you. Consider practicing compassion where you do not usually extend compassion.
Book recommendation: Luke 6:27-36