‘But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.’
Matthew 9:36 (King James Version)
It’s awesome how five simple words of a language can change a person. Who ever thought that five words could articulate what it means to be human? What human is to look like on the Earth… pretty amazing right?
Over the past few months these five words have been laid on my heart. Whether I am walking down the street, socialising with family and friends, writing, eating, sleeping; whatever it is that I am doing, these five words whisper to my spirit and circulate my mind.
What captivates me about them is that Jesus was moved with compassion. He wasn’t moved BY it but He was moved WITH it. Compassion was Him, built in Him; innate. God has been challenging me to move with and not by compassion, and it is this which I would like to share with you today.
If you know me then you will know that I am a lover of words and meanings. The key word that sticks out to me within these five words is with, which simply means, ‘accompanied by, characterised by, or having’ (Dictionary.com). Jesus functioned with the power of perceiving by touch, His whole being (EVERYTHING in Him) was compassion – ‘a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering’ (Dictionary.com).
Jesus’ compassion moved beyond what we know as our human emotions. He perceived (to become aware, discern) and desired (to wish or long for, request) change for others with His whole being. It was this characteristic in Him that allowed Him to move from one place to another to bring change, to move from one person to another to bring change, to be the sacrifice and die for us to bring change; ultimately to bring reconciliation (to cause a person to accept or be resigned to something not desired, restore – Dictionary.com). WOW, what love is this?
Jesus wasn’t moved by compassion because to be moved by something is not merely enough to bring a consistent, everlasting, internal change for yourself or another. The word by means, ‘to the extent or amount of, within the extent or period of’ (Dictionary.com). This means that there is a limitation when we are moved by something or someone, rather than moved with something or someone. It will only last a certain amount of time because it is not something that is built within our nature.
As humans we all have moments where we operate in our own strength when it should be the Lord’s strength, grace, and mercy we walk and operate in (Matthew 10:8, 2Corinthians 12:9). Our own forgiveness, tolerance, and grace towards people and situations can run slim because we are limited, which is why it is by the Lord’s that we must go in (Zechariah 4:6).
In Luke 6:36 it reads, ‘You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate’ (New Living Translation). We are commanded; it being an absolute, to be compassionate. As we are to be it, it must be built within us (our minds and hearts), as it must last and not tarry only for a season. We must allow the Holy Spirit to build compassion in our hearts and minds. We always talk about renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), but we forget that we also need God to work on our hearts (Luke 6:45, Proverbs 4:23, Proverbs 21:2). God said that He would give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), but we must partner with the Holy Spirit to continually pursue and keep it renewed (Psalm 51:10, Romans 2:29). The heart is important, and before we can touch others we must be touched in heart too.
So, considering all of this: Are you moved with or by compassion? What is the state of your heart today? Question yourself and invite God in… HE LONGS TO BRING YOU CHANGE; to restore you, to bring a better, everlasting change. It’s never too late, so let’s assess, change, and move forward in His grace together as one; the way we were created to.
BY STACEY SPENCER