The Pane: Let Us Strive Into Through Thriving by Serving in Missions
In 1982, the great Henri Nouwen composed these words that reverberate nearly four decades later: Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish.
Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.
Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. When we look at compassion this way, it becomes clear that something more is involved than a general kindness or tenderheartedness. (Compassion, pg4)
Stop and consider how the compassion of God has bolstered you into a new way of living and, therefore, a new way of loving neighbor.
Witnessed in the words, actions, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the incarnational God calls us to consider a more profound form of compassion.
The Gospel of Matthew describes it in this way: 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-38)
The Greek word “compassion” used here in verse 36 is splachnon. So here is the best way to translate this word, “he was moved from his inmost bowels.”
Besides the fact that a literal translation sounds severely disgusting, what Matthew was trying to convey here is that Jesus didn’t just look at the crowd and say, “Oh, those poor people. Whelp, let’s get on with more important things.”
Instead, Matthew is trying to say that when Jesus saw the crowd, he was moved wit