Compassion and mercy are traits that are born out of a heart of love. Compassion means caring about others we see who are in need. Compassion stirs our hearts but also moves us to help our fellow man, knowing that we have needed help from others at times. Compassion should take us out of our own world where we are the center, to a broader view that cares about others.
Jesus was moved with compassion while He lived on the earth. Compassion was often what motivated Him to heal the sick or deliver the demon-possessed. Jesus embodied compassion as He fed the hungry multitudes that had gathered to hear Him teach. Isaiah 30:18 says that the Lord longs to be gracious to us, and He will rise up to show compassion. He is a just God and will show compassion as we wait on Him.
Many scriptures in Isaiah describe the compassion of God. Isaiah 49:10 says “they will neither hunger or thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” He is a God who is not distant, but cares about our needs. Isaiah 49:13 says, “shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.” He truly is a Father who loves His children.
Mercy is born out of compassion for others. Mercy forgives even when it is not deserved. When others do wrong, mercy refuses to assign a debt to the offender. Mercy releases others and offers freedom to the debtor. When the disciples asked Jesus how to prayer, Jesus addressed this matter. He instructed the disciples to forgive their debtors, so that their debts would be forgiven them. So it is for us. As we extend mercy, God shows us mercy.
As Jesus modeled for us while on the earth, it is important that we show others compassion and mercy. Not only is this the heart of God, but by sowing compassion and mercy, we can expect to reap compassion and mercy in our own lives.