Many dictionaries define compassion as sympathy, pity or concern—all emotional responses. But the compassion of Jesus transcends emotion and translates into action. Christ-like compassion:
(1) Recognises the needs of others. ‘Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2:3–4 NKJV) Note the phrase ‘better than himself’, and then look around you at the people in your life and say to yourself, ‘Better than myself.’ If you tend to be self-centred, it will take a while for this concept to sink in.
Note also the words, ‘look out…for the interests of others’. Sometimes those ‘others’ are badly messed up and not easy to love. For example, how about people in prison? You say, ‘Well, they got what they deserved.’ Maybe—but did you always get what you deserved or did you just not get caught? Think about it! When you visit someone sick or in prison, Jesus said you’re ‘doing it to Me!’ (Matthew 25:40 NLT) In Luke 23:43, He showed compassion to a convicted criminal on the cross and saved him. You shouldn’t pick and choose to whom you’ll show compassion!
The Bible says, ‘To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.’ (Job 6:14 NKJV) Mother Teresa prayed, ‘Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, crime, or madness, I may recognise you and say, “Jesus, You who suffer, how sweet it is to serve You.”’