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“We often confuse the heart of compassion that requires a response with the feeling of sympathy that remains idle.”

A thought by Brandon Hatmaker, (2011-10-18) from his book, Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I was just reading a story about Jesus over in the 20th chapter of Matthew in the New Testament.  It seems that He and His disciples were leaving this particular town and a crowd was following them.  And a couple of blind men disturbed the group and the crowd rebuked them and told them to be quite.  But they continued yelling and Jesus finally stopped and asked them what they wanted and they said, “We want our sight.”

Now I’m sure these guys had been there for a long time and the sympathy of the crowd who walked by them every day turned to annoyance and then ignoring them.  But these two blind men had heard that Jesus was going by and they shouted, “Have mercy on us” and it says that Jesus didn’t have sympathy but He had compassion on them and touched their eyes and immediately they received their sight and followed Him.  He did something and He wants us to do something.

I am reading through the Gospels and it is truly changing me.  I know we may not be able to do all Jesus did but we must have the heart of compassion which leads us to do something. 

Brandon had an anonymous quote in his book that speaks to this.  He says, “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But, I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

I know it is so easy to walk by those who are needy and have sympathy for them and do nothing.  But Christ calls us out and wants to give us compassion so that He can do something through us to make a difference.  We need to not waste the divine opportunities that He has for us to allow Him to work miracles through our lives for people who are in need.  That is His plan and that is our purpose.

So which is it, sympathy or compassion?   

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