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God expects us to extend compassion to others, in the same way, we would want to be done to us. “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.” (Luke 6:35)
People with the gift of compassion are people who look to alleviating the pain of others without giving thought to their own needs. It is their modus operandus, their inherent way of life.
Compassion is a spiritual gift, but also a hallmark of working in the medical field, for the church, or in social services. But it shouldn’t stop there! Without compassion, there would be no encouragement to overcome trials, and no motivation or incentive to do better for one’s self.
Being a human being (let alone a Christian) is all about making a difference in someone’s life, expressed by some level of compassion, so that even if it’s not your dominant trait, everyone can still possess it – inside of and outside of the church.
Compassion should be supported in its many different forms, but not worshiped. If others start to admire good qualities in someone who lives compassionately, there is a very real danger of two things:
1 - Wanting to be like that person, and not Jesus.
2 - Putting unnecessary pressure on that person to not fail – otherwise it results in the illusion of that person’s “goodness” being shattered.
Truly, no one is perfect save for Jesus. Thinking otherwise and teaching others to think that way is a fallacy. There’s a reason why we are to extend forgiveness and promote healing among people. Holding grudges and remaining bitter rob the soul of joy, and perpetuates the cycle of stripping the world of compassion.
What Compassion Looks Like by Personality Type
INTJ – Strategic planners and thinkers fight for causes they believe in.
INTP – Inventors who love knowledge, who find practical ways to help as they see opportunities arise that interest them.
ENTJ – Bold and strong-willed to meet a purpose, they inspire others and encourage them to set goals.
ENTP – Smart and curious thinkers who seek intellect and reach out to lift others up and connect with them.
INFJ – Quiet and inspiring, they use their gifts and strengths to help others where they are able.
INFP – Kind and eager to help, with an open-mind that keeps them looking to help people no matter how much work is involved.
ENFJ – Charismatic leaders who can convey effective messages and get involved with the needs of others very easily.
ENFP – They are the “glass half-full” optimists; they always have a friendly word for others and have a way of making people feel special.
ISTJ – Practical and frugal, they are able to fit in wherever they are needed and look for ways to promote order among people and tasks.
ISFJ – Protectors who defend their loved ones and are supportive of the needs of others, while working patiently to achieve results.
ESTJ – Effective managers who are skilled organizers who can lead and direct groups to reach people and goals.
ESFJ – Caring and always eager to help, they enjoy serving others in need and are very personable to all.
ISTP – Bold and able to master several skillsets, they face crises with calm and help others even under extreme pressure or chaos.
ISFP – Always eager for new experiences, they are sensitive to others’ needs and find ways to best help them.
ESTP – Perceptive and adventurous observers who are able to adapt to changing situations with people, thus making them able to connect well with others.
ESFP – Enthusiastic and entertaining in all areas, they are observant as well as great conversationalists so that they connect with people from all walks of life.
The Better Way
We live in a broken society, not wholly unlike when Jesus walked among the Jews. That in of itself should give us pause when thinking about what that means for each of us. Do we accept people, or judge them? Do we share a smile or exchange pleasantries, or do we cut them down or belittle them for thinking differently than us?
In the Bible, compassionate people weren’t worried about their reputations – only God’s judgment of them. God led them to where they were needed, and they responded in obedience. They encouraged other believers and inspired compassion so that it spread to the masses of hurting people who needed to hear about Jesus.
That same drive to reach and teach people the gospel so that they can go out and be Jesus by “doing unto the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) for Jesus, and in teaching them to observe His commands (as described in Matthew 28:18-20) is still seen in countless ministries and non-profit organizations around the world.
We may live in a culture of instant gratification, but that makes it vitally important for Christians to take a stand for Jesus and reach the lost and hurting!
Don’t Settle For Lukewarm
The warning of being the lukewarm church as described in Revelation 3 is relevant for us today. It’s the church who has the truth, yet allows its members to grow lax in their faith and community service. And just as Jesus detested such ineffective behaviour, people around us are going to be just as easily turned off by our words or actions if we too lack compassion and ignore the urgency to do something.
It requires actively seeking out opportunities on a daily basis – not just at obligatory times of the year. Being compassionate means staying alert to our surroundings, finding needs to fill.
It’s not enough to know the truth, but we must put it into practice every day of our lives. This means that we are an influence over others, even when we don’t realize it. The very people who need our compassion are looking at us with hope.
Do we allow ourselves to be the answer to their prayers? We can if we humbly come before God and detach ourselves from our possessions so that we can spend more time with God and allow ourselves to be led to others in need.
by Natasha Polak,
Mind On Jesus