Why believers are expected to exhibit compassion

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who is compassionate and the God who gives comfort. He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We are instructed here by Paul that God is “the Father who is compassionate.” Other versions render this phrase as

  • the Father of mercies
  • the Father who is merciful
  • merciful Father
  • Father of compassion

The Pulpit Commentary puts this phrase into perspective:

“This corresponds to a Hebrew expression, and means that compassionateness is the most characteristic attribute of God, and an emanation from him. He is the Source of all mercy; and mercy is an attribute of God himself. He is ‘full of compassion, and gracious, tong-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth’ (Psalm 86:15). ‘The Law,’ says the Talmud, ‘begins and ends with an act of mercy. At its commencement God clothes the naked; at its close be buries the dead’ (‘Sotah,’ f. 14, 1).”

As compassion is one of the primary qualities of God himself, Paul is right to encourage believers to provide the same level of compassion and mercy to others that they have received themselves. It’s only fair that we should do so; in fact, it is our obligation.

So many believers today are so overly focused on how God comforts them, or on striving after how they can receive more comfort and encouragement from God, that they overlook the glaring and unmistakable needs of the those who are all around them.

We have to remember that being a believer in the God of the Bible is not about us, it’s about him. As we focus on him and his goodness and mercy, we should, if for no other reason than close association with him, begin to exhibit the same characteristics that he has in our lives.

When we neglect acts of compassion towards others, we are in effect rejecting a key component of our spiritual DNA. Exhibiting compassion for others is not only something we are expected to do, it is who we are expected to be, just like our Father.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:48

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