Lesson 23: Compassion
“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, ‘I am willing,’ he said, ‘Be clean!'” Mark 1:40-41
My wife, Elisabeth, has the gift of compassion. As a clinical instructor she leads nursing students as they learn first-hand what it means to care for people in a hospital setting. This semester they are at a veteran’s hospital and I find my heart stirred and challenged by the stories she shares of men and women who have served so selflessly and now, reluctantly, find themselves needing to be served. She shares not only about the brave spirits of the veterans, but of her young students. While practicing their skills (on some very patient vets!), they often have to leave the room, overcome with emotion. You see, far from being a cold, sterile environment of “clients,” Elisabeth reminds her students that these are real people with real dreams, real hurts and hopes who deserve being treated with deep love and grace. It is in these moments that they are learning the more important skills… how to administer true compassion for those they are treating.
As we fast and pray during this season, let’s focus on compassion. Like Jesus, are we “filled with compassion” for those others deem less than worthy? Are we “willing” as He was to touch those others do their best to avoid? Who is it that we can share the compassion of the Lord with today? Soften your heart and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His compassion and then purpose to pour it out on others.