Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “C” Is For “Compassion”

14 May

old-english-lettering-1Our society is not keen on cultivating manly virtues, at least not from a Biblical perspective. It is considered masculine to belch or fart loudly, to sleep with as many women as one can, to have a significant income, have a big beard, big muscles, a nice car, provide for one’s family, etc.; all things that, at best, are on the peripheral; and at worst, are not even virtuous.

Compassion is one of those rare characteristics that sets someone apart from the rest of the world. It is praised throughout the Bible and seen best in the person of Christ. Wherever He went, Jesus expressed compassion, whether for sheep without a shepherd, or those suffering from physical deformities or handicaps. It would be accurate to say that if a person could not help their condition, they were worthy of compassion.

In Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus is seen leaving Jericho with a large crowd following Him. There were two blind men sitting on the side of the road, who when Jesus passed by, called to Him: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The first thing to note would be that they were sitting on the side of the road. Jesus had to pass by them if He were to leave Jericho. They placed themselves in His way. Second, they acknowledged Jesus as God and as the promised fulfillment of the line of David. They recognized Jesus for who He actually was. Third, the crowd tried to silence them. Those in the crowds that followed Jesus were interested for various reasons. Some were mystified at His power and authority, some at His teaching, and some expected that He would liberate them from Roman tyranny.

Whatever their reasons, they were not concerned with the plight of these blind men. But Jesus was.

As is often the unfortunate case, Jesus’ followers seldom show the compassion He exhibited. The needy get in the way. They make for unsavory fixtures in our churches and our neighborhoods. We would prefer it if they just went away so we didn’t have to deal with them. However, Jesus always made time to address the needs of those who suffered.

Matthew writes that when the blind men called out to Jesus a second time after the crowd tried to silence them, He responded: “What do you want Me to do for you?” They then responded: “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Jesus was “…moved with compassion.”

Jesus was profoundly affected by the handicapped, whether physically, or spiritually, particularly if the handicap was something that could not have been helped. There is another facet to this story, however. Those who are earnestly interested in Jesus and place themselves before Him to cry out for salvation from their condition are often silenced by those who claim to already follow Him. If they keep crying out, though, Jesus will hear them, and He will open their eyes.

Make sure you do not get in His way; rather, be the hands and feet of Jesus, and give what you can to those in need. God delights in compassion.

What are some ways that you can exercise the virtue of compassion in your life?

-Aaron Clark

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Aaron didn’t send me a mini-bio, so I will do my best to briefly describe him to you… Aaron Clark is a cowboy. Aaron has a beautiful, red pirate beard, a smile from ear to ear, and a heart that is bigger than most. He stands with his friends when they are in need, he loves Jesus with his all, and he has a really wonderful sense of humor. Aaron was one of my groomsmen. I affectionately refer to Aaron Clark as “Blark” (I’m pretty sure that no one else calls him this).  I am honored to count him among my friends.

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