At times it can be a real challenge to see others the way God sees each of us…with loving compassion no matter what.
“I came so that my sheep will have life and so that they will have everything they need. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11 (GW)
What’s hanging around inside our hearts often determines what we feel when we look at others. When we see a large crowd, we can easily get irritated and impatient. Why? For me it’s because I’m impatient and crowds can slow me down. But when Jesus saw a crowd, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Matthew 9:36 (ESV).
That’s the same way God looks at each of us: with total loving compassion. He doesn’t put us down, even though he could. He instead lifts us up! He’s not ever inconvenienced with us. No matter how angry, hurt, or betrayed you may feel, Jesus will always respond to you with loving compassion. He knows how helpless we are without him, “like sheep without a shepherd.”
Without a shepherd, sheep are defenseless. They don’t have any claws, they don’t run fast, and their teeth are not very sharp. They need a shepherd’s protection. Throughout the Bible, sheep are a symbol of God’s people. John 10: 10-11 says, “I came so that my sheep will have life so that they will have everything they need. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (GW).
That kind of compassion comes only from Jesus, our Good Shepherd. And it’s different from sympathy and empathy.
Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you’re hurt,” and ends there.
Empathy is a deeper commitment that says, “I hurt alongside you.”
But compassion says, “I’ll do whatever it takes to stop and ease your pain.”
And that is, in essence, what Jesus did through his life, death, and resurrection. He did everything and gave it ALL to stop our hurt, even if it meant dying on the cross, even if it meant having nails pounded through his hands and feet, and even if it meant being flogged and mocked. His tremendous compassion demonstrates ‘whatever it takes’.
Jesus said the reason he came was “not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45 (NLT). Notice the two words “serve” and “give.” They nicely define what it means to follow Jesus. We are each here for His purpose.
Do we look at people who are hurting and helpless the same way Jesus does? I get busy and am need of that constant reminder. Are we full of His love and compassion, willing to do whatever we can to help stop their pain, and help them according to the gifts and talents we’ve been given? Even if inconvenienced?
The Bible repeatedly tells us that when Jesus looked at people in emotional and/or physical pain, he was sincerely moved with compassion. God wants us to be like him, which means looking at others in this same way.
As ophthalmologists, let’s strive together to show heartfelt compassion without any strings attached…the same as Jesus. The Holy Spirit, living in each of us believers, seeks to break through our interior walls, teach us to show compassion to others with passion, go out and change the world according to His purpose, and to demonstrate His unconditional.
By design we need one another in this journey of life to do this. We are so much stronger with each other in this journey.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name. I am there among them.”
– Matthew 18:20