What To Do With All This Compassion (ATP)
My heart is breaking for all that’s going on in the world, all the evil, violence, hate and torment, my heart breaks especially for children and how this world impacts them. I’m finding myself crying daily because I just feel the pain that’s going on. I don’t really watch the news either. It seems I have an overwhelming amount of empathy. Any sad story I hear brings me to tears. I know I need to pray about it and pray for these people but how do I cope with this while praying about it and not allowing it to rob from my life and joy? And at the same time, I feel so guilty having a blessed life with so much suffering in the world. There are things I desire and then I think, “but there’s children who are hungry in this world.” Maybe God is allowing these sorrows to move us?
What a wonderful description of the compassion of Jesus. As you grow more in more in Him, as you go higher in Him, you see things from a higher perspective. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” The Word calls God the father of mercy and of comfort. The way you’ve been feeling is the very definition of mercy. It’s this deep compassion and a longing for help for others. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…” Of course, remember Matthew 9:36, “…when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
This empathy, this mercy, this compassion, that’s all godly. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that He is, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Look at Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” In these things, we must do our best to stay balanced. First, it’s not wrong to recognize, weep for, desire change for, and feel a deep love for this lost and dying world. But it is wrong to feel guilty for what the Lord has done for you. If the Lord didn’t take care of His children His Word would be lying. Try not to let what goes on around you make you question the blessings of God in your own family. Instead, take this empathy and mercy and use it as fuel for your walk with God and ammunition against the enemy.
At the same time, not every Christian experiences this same compassion and empathy regularly. It would seem that if you’re experiencing this so deeply, the Lord has given you an assignment. Your assignment isn’t to refuse His blessing for yourself or your family, but to receive it with joy and pay it forward. Take your empathy, take that compassion of Jesus you’re experiencing and determine that while you’re on this earth, you’re going to pray for, you’re going to love, you’re going to speak hope to, you’re going to bless those who are lost, dying, hurting and broken. I love the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:33-34, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” This man had been beaten and stripped of all he had and many passed by, even many who should have had compassion, but this Samaritan stopped his own plans, put aside his own “agenda” and took care of this broken person. Many Christians are too distracted to even take on the kind of compassion Jesus has.
Your answer to these things is like you said, to pray for this world, but also to be willing to set aside your own for the sake of others. John 15:13 reminds us that, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” When you feel this empathy come on you, be excited that you can do something about it! Take joy knowing your prayers speak directly to the Lord and that He not only hears but He will answer them! Don’t let the devil rob your joy with guilt. You were saved so you could do something about these things! Isn’t that awesome? Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Finally, look at Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Believe in your authority and believe in His power when you pray. There’s hope in that. Peace and joy come in your believing.