Do We Have Compassionate Hearts?

Compassion and Kindness
Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

If we, as followers of Jesus Christ, have compassionate hearts, we are going to show compassion towards people in all the same ways in which Jesus showed compassion. We will be concerned about them in the same ways in which Jesus was concerned, so we will never lie to them or placate sin, and we won’t hide the truth from them in order to spare their feelings.

And the reason that I say this is that, at least here in America, we live in a “Christian” culture that teaches that we should not say anything to offend anyone and we should stay in our “own lane.” The culture teaches us to say only “nice” things which are pleasing to the ears of others, to never talk about sin, and to only talk about the promises and blessings of God.

Yes, we should show compassion toward the hungry, the hurting, and the sick, and the afflicted, and the sorrowful, as Jesus did. But we should not do this to the exclusion of showing deep concern for their spiritual condition, as well. For the greatest expression of compassion is to share with others how they can be delivered from their slavery to sin and how they can be born again and walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God.

If showing compassion and kindness means we only say what makes people feel good, and we avoid all subjects which are controversial or which might cause people to feel uncomfortable, then that is not true kindness or compassion, because we are thinking only about ourselves and about them liking us, and them approving us, and them not rejecting us.

So, what I am saying is that we need to be Jesus to one another, but not the Jesus that many are presenting today which is a Jesus who just went around doing good to everyone and who just hung out with people and did the same kinds of things they did but who never confronted anyone with their sin and who never told people that they needed to change their ways.

We need to be healers, yes, but healers are also surgeons, aren’t they? So, we need to tell them that if we are going to be healed of our sins we need to die with Christ to sin first. Our bondage to sin needs to be cut out of our lives, then we can heal, and then we can live new lives in Christ Jesus.

So, don’t get this idea that being kind means lying to people or withholding truth from them that they need to hear in order to save their lives. Lying is never kind. Compassion and kindness and bearing with one another in love should all come from the heart of God and should have the will of God in mind and should always have the good of others in mind, too, but as God defines “good,” not as humans often do.

And if we forgive others as Jesus has forgiven us, Jesus forgave us so that we would go and sin no more. He forgave us so that we would now live free from the control of sin and so we would walk in his righteousness and holiness. So, forgiving others doesn’t mean we ignore sin or that we grant permission for them to keep sinning, but it means that we choose not to hold that sin against them. We choose to not get even, but to love, instead.

Love and Peace
Colossians 3:14-15 ESV

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

This word “love” means to prefer what God prefers, to prefer to live through Christ, to choose his choices, and to obey them in the power of God. And he chooses that we should die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, which is why Jesus died. And what God prefers is what is holy, righteous, just, morally pure, upright, godly, honest, faithful, and kind.

So, when we love with this kind of love we will not sin against others. We will not lie to them or commit adultery against them. We will not cheat them out of things rightfully theirs or steal from them. We will not slander them or be hateful in the sense of being hostile towards them and wishing them harm. And we will not deceive, trick, or manipulate them, either.

Also, this kind of love is shown through our actions, for love is not what we feel, but it is what we do. God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be set free from our addiction to sin and so we would now live holy lives pleasing to God in his power and strength. That is genuine love.

So, don’t call it love if it is lip service only, but you are sinning against God and against others deliberately and habitually. Don’t tell your spouse that you love him or her and then secretly engage in sexual immorality and then lie about it to cover up your sin. Feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are so deceiving. Love is action even when the feelings are not there.

And with regard to peace, this is speaking of the peace of Christ, which is peace with God, which means we are no longer living as enemies of God and as enemies of the cross of Christ, but we are living in union with God’s will and purposes for our lives, in submission to Christ as Lord, and in walks of obedience to his commands. Then, we are at peace.

So, this is the kind of peace that should rule in our hearts, not the kind of peace that the world is talking about and that we hear about in the news most days. What they want is a peace that unites all the people of the world together as one mind and as one voice all following a one world government and a one world religion while destroying all that separates us as humans.

So, the kind of peace the world is offering would involve compromise of faith and convictions. It would mean giving up our faith in Jesus Christ to unite with the people of the world. They may let us believe in a Jesus as long as our beliefs don’t tell others that they need to believe in the Jesus and that they must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness.

The Word of Christ
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

If the word of Christ is dwelling in us, it is being lived out in our lives. This isn’t just about committing the Scriptures to memory, for we can memorize words and yet they have no effect on our lives whatsoever if we do not put them into practice. And we shouldn’t be teaching and admonishing others if we are not living out the Scriptures in our own lives.

So, be doers of the word and not hearers only. Put the word of God into practice in your lives and then teach and admonish one another in all God’s wisdom. And singing songs to one another is not praise and worship songs. They are Christian songs that teach us biblical truths for our daily living, like many of the hymns do.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. And this is not merely using the name of Jesus, but this means our words and our deeds are in line with his divine character and his will for our lives, and they agree with the word of God. We need to obey our Lord Jesus always.

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

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P.S. This is not an endorsement of the singers other than as musicians

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