A sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
together with a desire to alleviate it.
For those of us who bear the name of Christ, the meaning behind this definition of compassion is even deeper. The “desire to alleviate” distress comes from the fact that as Christ-followers, we have a heart to show Christ’s love to others, as it was shown to us. This love is actually commanded by Jesus himself: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
On March 2, 2019, a group of 14 students from Randall University had the opportunity to show this Christ-motivated compassion as we partnered with a ministry called Arms of Compassion to distribute food, clothes, blankets, and other basic necessities to those experiencing homelessness the Tent District in Oklahoma City. I was able to watch as these students were literally the hands and feet of Jesus, not just by providing for physical needs, but relational and spiritual ones as well. In the freezing temperatures, the students served their hearts out, treating each person they met with love and respect. They handed out supplies, joked and laughed with people, and prayed with them.
This is where the rubber meets the road—when we come face to face with great need and seek to put into action what we have learned—imitating Jesus and seeking to serve “the least of these.” We do so, not with the mentality of “helping the needy,” but rather, showing the love of Christ and the value of each life we come in contact with, knowing that we all have a great need which only God Himself can meet.