The Action of Compassion

The Action of Compassion

Pastor Don Carpenter

Facets of Compassion

Let’s suppose for a moment that it was Friday night and you wanted to go to a movie. You’re running late for the movie because you got home late, and then once you put down the keys, you forgot where you placed them. It was frustrating but you did find them. You finally jump into the car and you’re on way making good time until you come up behind a blue car. You are on a two lane road with a solid yellow line down the middle which means no passing. The car in front of you is doing twenty in a thirty five mile an hour zone. You want to grab some popcorn before going into the movie. You are starting to wonder, where did the person in front of you get her license. What’s going on in your mind at this point?

Would it make a difference to you, if you knew that woman was heading home from the hospital to an empty house. She had driven to the hospital an hour earlier. Her husband of 40 years and her only son had arrived at the hospital dead after being in an automobile accident. She didn’t have anyone she could call on to come and drive her home. She didn’t want to leave her car at the hospital. She was crying and driving 20 miles an hour in a 35 mph zone right in front of you.

If you had of known this information, you would have still been late for the movie, but you probably would have had some compassion. You probably would have prayed for her. What you would have done is that you would have put yourself in her place and thought what you would have needed if you had been her.

Last week we discovered that the English word “compassion” is packed with so much meaning, that there are 5 Greek New Testament words that are all translated the same way. Last week we looked at three of those words as we learned how to cultivate the feeling of compassion. We learned that it was a personal choice to feel compassion. We also saw that our feeling of compassion was tied into our perception of things. We need to see people through the eyes of Jesus in order to experience the feeling of compassion that Jesus had. We also saw that compassion came when we shared common experiences.

Today we will look at two words that move us to the action of compassion. As we examine these words we will discover that we have a story of compassion to share with others, a debt of compassion to pay forward, an example of compassion to follow. Let us take a closer look and see how we can put compassion into action.

We Have a Story of Compassion to Share With Others

Our Situation was hopeless – like the demoniac of the Gadarenes

Mark 5:1–5 KJV

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 

Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 

Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Ephesians 2:1–2 KJV

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

 • Every one of us were, and maybe still are, as hopelessly enslaved as that demoniac.  

 • Sin enslaves, whether it is the bottle, the bed, or the pride of life.  Every one of us were enslaved both to the lifestyle and consequences of sin.

Romans 3:12 KJV

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

 • The ravages of sin will kill us if we are not delivered

James 1:13–15 KJV

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Hope Appeared When Jesus Appeared

Mark 5:6–7 KJV

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 

And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

 • Our first encounter with Christ can be very unsettling.

 • To see His holiness is to see our wretched condition.

 • Jesus is not the enemy

Jesus Sets the Captive Free!

Mark 5:8–13 KJV

For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 

And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 

And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

John 8:32 KJV

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The Mission now is to show compassion by sharing the story of Christ’s compassion toward you.

 Mark 5:15–19 (KJV)

 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 

 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 

 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 

 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 

 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words Compassion, Compassionate

 eleeo (?????, 1653), “to have mercy

 • If you are born again, you have at least one story of compassion. God reached down to you in your wretched state and pulled you out. He HAD MERCY/ PITY/ COMPASSION

 • Someone in your life needs to hear that they too have hope because you found hope. Have compassion on them by sharing the story of the compassion Jesus had on you.

We Have a Debt of Compassion to Pay Forward  

We have a debt we cannot pay.

Matthew 18:21–25 KJV

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

Romans 3:23 KJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23 KJV

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Forgave Our Debt

Matthew 18:26–27 KJV

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 5:8 KJV

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16 KJV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We Must Put Compassion into Action by Forgiving the Debt of Others.

 Matthew 18:28–33 (KJV)

 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?

Matthew 6:12 KJV

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Ephesians 4:32 KJV

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

“Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin.

It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

SOURCE: Frederick Buechner, “Wishful Thinking.” Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1973.

We Have an Example of Compassion to Follow  

Jesus Our High Priest Was also our Example

 Hebrews 5:1–2 (KJV)

 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 

 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.

 Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament)

 ??????????? (metriopathe?): deal gently with 

Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament III. Exegesis of the Letter

Metripatheo (??????????) means to be moderate or tender in judgment toward another’s errors. It speaks of a state of feeling toward the ignorant and the erring which is neither too severe nor too tolerant. The high priest must be careful lest he become irritated at sin and ignorance. He must also take care that he does not become weakly indulgent.

 • Toward the ignorant

 • Toward the wayward

 • Because you are surrounded by your own weakness.

Our Compassion on Doubters Can Make a Difference in their Rescue

Jude 22–23 KJV

And of some have compassion, making a difference: 

and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

 Look at sinful men as mad, and you will pity them and bear with them.

 Charles Spurgeon


We live in a cold cruel world, but we have been called, as Christ Followers, to feel and practice the same compassion He modeled for us. We have a story of compassion to share. We have a debt of compassion to pay forward. We have an example of compassion to follow. May God help us as we put our feelings of compassion into action.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:55 AM March 9, 2023.