It is time that we start to show a little sympathy please
Hello folks, I am the Reverend Hank Wilson and welcome to the Christian Life Gospel Ministry’s Facing Life, it is our Biblical guide to staying upright when life tries to knock you down.
As we always do, let’s start things off with our opening prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life to help me learn how to open my heart and my mind to those around who are in need. Help me learn to empathize with whatever they are going through, help me sympathize with them and help me act in a brotherly way. Help me live life as a true Christian. Thank you – Amen.
Our scripture reading today is Psalm 124
1 If the LORD had not been on our side— let Israel say— 2 if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Often on various social media platforms, we can find pleas for us to help someone who is either sick, down on their luck, or in trouble. People are essentially asking us to sympathize with them about their situation. Recently I have notice that more and more though people are not sympathizing with those people in need; but instead mock them, sometimes even making rude remarks and generally being very unfriendly and definitely very unchristian.
I wonder what has happened to us? Have we lost our ability to feel compassion for others, or are we so burned out by phony requests and fake pleas that we have become hardened to the plight of others? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that everyone has become jaded and unsympathetic to others, it is just that I see so much negativity that it made me want to take a closer look at the whole concept. Today that is exactly what I will do by looking at three ideas.
- Does Jesus sympathize with us in our time of need?
- Does God expect us to be sympathetic to others?
- How can I show sympathy to others?
Does Jesus sympathize with us in our time of need? We know from the Gospels that Jesus often took mercy on people. The Gospel of Matthew relates at least three occasions when He took compassion on people.
In Matthew Chapter 9. We read how Jesus had been healing people, He healed a paralyzed man, He healed a woman who had been hemorrhaging for years and He healed a young girl that some thought was dead, He restored the eyesight of two blind men, and He restored the voice of a mute.
Sadly, the rulers weren’t impressed and were in fact upset and claimed that Jesus was a demon, but Jesus knew the normal folks were impressed and were looking for guidance. In Verse 36 “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus sympathized with the people because they were lost, and then in Verse 37 He said, “Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
Later in Matthew, in Chapter 14, we read that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist, and after Jesus heard about it, He left and took a boat to a secluded place. A large crowd followed Him and when Jesus saw them; we read in Verse 14, “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” Once again, Jesus reached out to folks in need, He understood that sometimes you have to give people a hand up.
Matthew Chapter 20 is intriguing because it covers 4 distinct concepts; He talked about the laborers in the vineyard, His upcoming death and resurrection, a mother’s plea for preferential treatment for her sons, then in Verse 34, Jesus encounters two blind men, who plead with Him for help, and the crowd tried to shut them up. But Jesus asked them what they wanted Him to do, and they were straight forward about their request, they asked for their eyesight to be restored. The Gospel continues, “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”
In all three of the preceding parts of the chapter, Jesus is trying to get people to see and understand what He is teaching and in the last segment, we see the actual opening of the eyes.
It is important for us to realize that the reason Jesus sympathized with those in His time and why He sympathizes with us in our time is that He was truly a human being. In Hebrews Chapter 4 Verse 15 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Remember Jesus walked the earth, He was tempted, He got angry, He felt grief, He felt compassion, He suffered, and He died. Jesus understands what we are going through.
Now since Jesus came from the Father we have to ask, does God expect us to be sympathetic to others? The answer is absolutely He does. Remember that old brotherly love concept, how we are to reach out to others. In 1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 8, Peter is giving instructions on how we are to live, what is expected of us. “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;” Living in harmony, with brotherly love, and being kind and humble when dealing with those who do not agree with us is very difficult today, all you have to do to see that is to read Facebook or Twitter. So it is vital that we listen to others and try to be sympathetic towards what they are going through.
Telling someone that it is important that we show sympathy is often much easier said than done. Exactly how can we show sympathy to others? One way is to gain sympathy for another is to feel what the other person is experiencing; to learn from their example. In Hebrews Chapter 10 Verse 34 it is written “For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.” The writer is speaking of learning and growing from watching the suffering and persecution of believers; and how the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross ensures eternal salvation for those who believe.
Helping a person in need is a very specific and action oriented way of showing sympathy. We all know the story of the Good Samaritan, and how a man was traveling and was robbed. How two members of the religious community ignored him both a priest and a Levite. These people were responsible for the spiritual well-being of the community and yet, they did not lift a finger to help. But a man from a faith and a country that the Jews traditionally looked down upon, stopped and helped. He bandaged the wounds, he took him to shelter, and he paid for everything out of his own pocket.
As Luke finishes up in Chapter 10 Verses 36-37, we read that Jesus taught that actions speak louder than words. “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
While actions are important, we can bring comfort to another by the simple act of sharing words of sympathy and encouragement. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Verse 4, Paul emphasizes how import a role that communication of comfort can be; “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Often reaching out to people who are in trouble, who are hurting through a phone call can make all the difference in the world to them. It does not take much time to be there for another.
So we need to remember that when it comes to feeling sympathy, that Jesus sympathizes with us, God expects us to sympathize with others, and there are ways to show our sympathy. We can try to empathize with them, figure out what they are going through, take action to help, and finally offer up some words of comfort and consolation to them. As I said, it does not take much time to be there for another and it can make a world of difference in someone’s life.
When in doubt try this prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life to help me learn how to open my heart and my mind to those around who are in need. Help me learn to empathize with whatever they are going through, help me sympathize with them and help me act in a brotherly way. Help me live life as a true Christian. Thank you – Amen.
That is it for today folks, I’m the Reverend Hank Wilson, thank you for joining me here on the Christian Life Gospel Ministry’s – Facing life – A biblical guide to staying upright when life tries to knock you down.
Stop by our website christianlifegospel.org for past recordings, you can join the conversation on Facebook @christianlifegospel, on twitter @txchristianlife. (repeat)
Until next time, stay strong, stay in prayer, and you can always find me sitting on the porch out in the country, doing my best to live life as a Christian. God Bless y’all
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