Having Compassion – Romans 12:15

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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During my father’s last days, many friends and family came to the hospital to comfort and encourage us. Wilber, a rugged man who had been a friend for decades came one afternoon. Realizing the end was near, he simply sat quietly beside my father’s bed and held his hand in a long, loving embrace. After a short while, Wilber began to quietly shake as he silently wept over the thought of losing his friend. Among the many memorable things surrounding this time, this wordless love and compassion demonstrated by his friend ministered more to me than any of the kind efforts of many.

In Romans 12:15, we have important instruction that is often passed over or forgotten. It says: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” A demonstration of this is found in the shortest verse in the Bible. It simply says: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). The context was when Lazarus had died. The hearts of his two sisters were broken over the prospect of losing the companionship of their beloved brother. They were weeping when the Lord Jesus came to comfort them. He reminded them that Lazarus would “rise again” (vs. 23) to everlasting life. While they believed this, their hearts still greatly grieved. The Lord did not rebuke them for their grief, nor did He continue to share biblical truth. Instead He did something amazing. He simply wept with them. This was not uncontrolled emotionalism, despair, confusion, nor helplessness. It was the outflowing of compassion. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus had been especially close to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Mary who had wiped the feet of the Lord Jesus with her hair. It was Martha who had diligently attended to His need for food as the Savior taught in their home. All three had enjoyed multiple times of listening intently to our Lord’s words, whole-heartedly trusted in Him, and opened their home for fellowship. During these times there had surely been joy and even laughter. But when Lazarus died, it was a natural time of sorrow. The Lord understood this and allowed His heart to grieve with them. What a powerful example for us to remember.

The experiences of life often leave us somewhat calloused to the needs and hurts of others. As a servant of Christ, we must learn to laugh with those who laugh, and demonstrate appropriate compassion by being able to “weep with them who weep.” Doing so genuinely can be an effective means of ministry.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."