Compassion for Your Neighbor

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
Luke 10:33

Context is so important when reading the Bible! Take the story of the Good Samaritan for instance (Luke 10:25-37). Everyone knows the story: a man being kind to a stranger. But there is more to the story. Jesus told it in response to a question from a lawyer: “Who is my neighbor?” (verse 29) That is, since the Law says “love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18), who is my neighbor? Who am I bound to love?

Jesus answered the question with a story: A Jew was set upon by robbers who stole his goods and left him for dead. Two Jewish religious leaders passed by and ignored the man’s plight. But when a cultural enemy of the man came by—a Samaritan—he stopped to help the injured man. The Samaritan “had compassion” on the man. He bound the man’s wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his care. The Samaritan used what resources he had with him—oil, wine, money—to meet the injured stranger’s needs. Jesus’ point: Compassion is based not on wealth or party lines; it is based on a willingness to help with whatever we have.

Who is your neighbor? On whom can you have compassion today? If your resources match another’s need, do what you can.

My neighbor is anyone whose need I see, whose need God puts me in a position to meet.
Haddon Robinson


Filled to Overflowing

The Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Titus 3:5-6

The concept of pouring something out has a strong biblical basis. In the Old Testament sacrifices, containers of ashes (Leviticus 4:12) and blood (Deuteronomy 12:27) were poured out. Job (Job 30:16) and Hannah (1 Samuel 1:15) poured out their souls before the Lord. God poured out His wrath on rebellious Israel (2 Chronicles 34:21). Indeed, the Old Testament’s use of the image of pouring is frequently connected to wrath.

It is no surprise that, oftentimes in the New Testament, the use of “pouring out” is the opposite of wrath: It is God pouring out His Spirit (Acts 2:33; 10:45) and His love (Romans 5:5; Titus 3:3-7). In the Old Testament, God poured out His wrath upon sin and sinners; in the New Testament He pours out His love. What does the image suggest? We have been filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit and love—love being a manifestation of the presence of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). He poured out His wrath on Jesus and His love on those for whom Jesus died.

God has filled you with His love so you can share it with others. Pour out your overflow of God’s love to someone today.

He that is in love with the world will be out of love with the cross.
Thomas Watson

The True Love Story

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
Proverbs 10:12

The 1970 dramatic film Love Story introduced one of the most oft-quoted lines about love in the modern era: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” One of the stars of that film, Ryan O’Neal—who had the words spoken to him by his dying girlfriend—was in a romantic-comedy movie two years later with Barbra Streisand (What’s Up, Doc?). In that movie, when Streisand says those same words to O’Neal, he responds, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

Most people would agree with the 1972 assessment from What’s Up Doc? of “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” But there’s a kernel of truth there. After all, “love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12; see also 1 Peter 4:8). Theoretically, that means one doesn’t have to say “sorry” to be forgiven. But biblically, there is a problem; there is a price to pay for sin: death (Romans 6:23). And Jesus paid that price for us—unconditionally. Jesus introduced true unconditional love to the human experience, paying a horrific price for our sins. But that doesn’t mean we are exempt from saying “sorry” when we sin (1 John 1:9).

Let unconditional love be the basis for all your relationships. But if you sin, always say “sorry” to God and others.

Repentance is being sorry enough to quit your sin.
Albert Martin

Net Neutrality

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Mark 9:41

It was hard to watch this year’s French Open without shedding a tear during the tennis match between Juan Martín del Potro and Nicolás Almagro. The score was tied when Almagro’s knee gave out. As Almagro realized what had happened, he broke down, fell backward in defeat, and sobbed so loudly the sound of his weeping could be heard in the farthest galleries. Del Potro, who himself has battled injuries, instantly crossed the net, knelt beside his stricken opponent, consoled him, helped him up, and embraced him. Spectators wiped their eyes as the two men left the court in a remarkable display of compassion.

If our opponents need our compassion, how much more our friends, family, and fellow church members? If world class athletes can show compassion, how much more should we? When injured in life, we need those who will weep with us, kneel with us, and give us a cup of cold water. We need to be ready to do the same.

God’s compassion for mankind reached out to us through Jesus Christ on the cross. Surely our lives should display His compassion to others as well.

It is the unseen and the spiritual in people that determines the outward and actual.
Oswald Chambers

The Subway Graduate

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

This past spring, Jerich Alcantara donned his cap and gown and boarded a New York City subway with family and friends accompanying him to his graduation at Hunter College. But the subway broke down and the car was stalled for hours. Jerich’s friends decided to celebrate his graduation then and there. The whole car got into the act. The young man walked down the aisle, passengers wished him well, friends presented him an improvised diploma, and the whole thing was posted on Facebook.

According to Romans 5:1-11, we have peace with God and rejoice in His hope—but we also rejoice in tribulation, for God knows how to turn tribulation into celebration. Because we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we can boast in trouble, for trouble produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out His love into our hearts by His Spirit.

Being a child of God means that we have peace with God. He is our shelter and provider that the world’s tribulation cannot erase. Let Him have your delays and disappointments as you graduate to new levels of His peace.

Lead on, O King eternal, the day of march has come; / Henceforth in fields of conquest, Thy tents shall be our home.
Ernest Shurtleff