Compassion is never helpless

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by Dr Mark Chironna

Compassion is never helpless. It has power to move you to take action because it grips you deeply, at a visceral level and demands you take action to remedy a situation. I am mindful of the words of Matthew as he describes the activity of Jesus and the impact He made on the lives of those He touched. Consider Matthew’s words:

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35-36.

Jesus didn’t merely “see” the faces of the people, nor the surface appearance of the crowd that followed Him. His gaze and observation was a penetrating one, and what He saw at their depths aroused within Him a profound sense of identifying with their pain and the issues they faced, creating a yearning of compassion that moved Him to heal every one of their diseases and sicknesses.

Interestingly enough, the terms for disease and sickness used here in this passage cover the full gamut of the ills of the human condition from spirit, to soul, to body. Jesus brought His healing presence to bear on all of it, indeed, every kind of it. Nothing was out of the scope of His reach. His healing presence covered it all. In fact it was the therapy of God that Jesus was operating in, which is what the word for healing used by Matthew in this text actually is: therapy!

The suffering of the human condition is the same today as it was in Jesus’ day. The pain is no less present, the stress is no less real, and the heartache is no less palpable. There is a desperate need for the therapeutic, healing presence of Jesus, to touch the lives of all those we come in contact with on a daily basis. All too often we miss opportunities to bring His healing presence to bear on the lives of the people we come in contact with because on the “outside” they can look just fine. We need to see however by His Spirit the same way He sees. He sees the wrestling of their hearts and the warfare they endure that they may be outwardly masking just to get by and survive (the same thing you and I do so well when we don’t want to let anybody know that we are every one of their diseases and sicknesses.

Interestingly enough, the terms for disease and sickness used here in this passage cover the full gamut of the ills of the human condition from spirit, to soul, to body. Jesus brought His healing presence to bear on all of it, indeed, every kind of it. Nothing was out of the scope of His reach. His healing presence covered it all. In fact it was the therapy of God that Jesus was operating in, which is what the word for healing used by Matthew in this text actually is: therapy!

The suffering of the human condition is the same today as it was in Jesus’ day. The pain is no less present, the stress is no less real, and the heartache is no less palpable. There is a desperate need for the therapeutic, healing presence of Jesus, to touch the lives of all those we come in contact with on a daily basis. All too often we miss opportunities to bring His healing presence to bear on the lives of the people we come in contact with because on the “outside” they can look just fine. We need to see however by His Spirit the same way He sees. He sees the wrestling of their hearts and the warfare they endure that they may be outwardly masking just to get by and survive (the same thing you and I do so well when we don’t want to let anybody know that we are dealing with hurts and pains).

If I have learned anything over 4 decades of preaching the Gospel all around the world it is this: everyone needs healing at some level, spirit, soul, or body. Everyone of us needs to experience His compassion moving first on our own lives so that it can move through our lives to others. The reason is simple: you cannot give what you do not have. Distress is running quite high in this current culture of rapid-paced, accelerated change. In addition, the uncertainty that change is breeding is so prevalent in the atmosphere that anxiety is running higher than ever in every population base. Live with distress long enough and the doctors will tell you that you run the risk of serious health issues. Also, the longer you feel the weight of distress, and have no way to alleviate it, the more dispirited you become.

People that are distressed and dispirited battle with mental and emotional harassment from the powers of darkness, even if they don’t know that the powers of darkness exist! The sinister work of the powers of hell is to destroy any possibility of life having meaning and joy. The powers of darkness have one goal: death to every level of one’s life.

People that are distressed and dispirited feel like they have been forcefully thrown aside by the changes and challenges that life has presented. They can feel like everything in their life is scattered and falling apart. They lack loving, nurturing support and guidance because they are like sheep without a shepherd. There aren’t the kind of healthy social containers (healthy balanced family and couple systems) that were once part of the culture two generations ago. The more secularized the culture has become, the less vital connection, meaning, and wholesome bonding there is.

People can hang out in a crowd and yet feel profoundly alone and disconnected. God has made it quite clear that “alone” is not a good thing for mankind. The harvest is truly plenteous. It is all around us. The challenge is that there need to be laborers…actually let’s redefine that term…there need to be “lovers”. Lovers will be moved with compassion because they first and foremost know they have been “sent” out into the harvest just like their Savior.

Lovers will also carry the healing presence and power of their Savior for every aspect of the human condition that plagues the lives of those they touch, spirit, soul, and body. Lovers will bring the therapy of heaven to bear on the dis-ease of those all around them. Pray that God will send lovers who can see the masses for where they are, and with healing presence, moved with compassion bring the therapy of heaven to bear on everyone they touch!

Mark J. Chironna, MA, PhD