Compassion for Others


By Jill Briscoe

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”  ~ Deuteronomy10:12

Wouldn’t it be great if we could require someone to love us?  “But,” I can hear you say, “how can you require love?  Love is a feeling – you can’t require someone to have a certain feeling!”

If love were a feeling, I would agree.  But feelings are only a part of love – and a very unreliable part at that.  Jesus did say, “My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).  Therefore, love has to be more than a feeling.

The love God requires from us for himself and for each other is the highest form of love – agape love – love like His.  It is a love of the head rather than a love of the heart.  A love that determines to be concerned, first and foremost, for the loved ones’ well-being in every dimension of their lives – whatever the cost to ourselves and irrespective of their reaction.

So how can we know that we love God?  By being obedient.  Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”(John 14:21).  This verse relieves my anxiety, as I’ve always worried that I wasn’t loving God enough.  My fears were based on my erratic feelings toward him.  These words of the Lord take the whole thing out of the realm of feelings and into the realm of doing.  Now that I can handle!  And what can I do to show God I love him?  I can have compassion for others.  I can love by doing.  This is what he requires.

Lord, thank You for these words of encouragement. Sometimes I don’t feel the love for others that I think I should be feeling.  Show me all the ways I can show compassion and can love by doing.  Help me remember that by doing what I can for other people I am loving them, obeying You, and most importantly loving You.  Amen.

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