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Thoughts from the Crossing Team

7 Characteristics of a Compassionate Christian (And Why You're Called to Be One)

God is in the life-change business. He specializes in heart transplants. He is known for transforming sinners into saints, orphans into loved sons and daughters, drug-addicts into grace-addicts, the discouraged into the empowered, the fearful into the courageous, the proud into the humble, the selfish into the self-giving, and so much more.

No matter where your story started, God is rewriting your ending.

Part of your story, part of your calling, part of following Jesus, is showing compassion to a hurting world. This Sunday, May 31st, you have the opportunity to show compassion to people all over the world. In anticipation of this special day, I want to share with you 7 characteristics of a compassionate Christian.

A compassionate Christian is someone who:

 

1. Has Been Chosen by God

To live a life of compassion is the very thing a person does who is chosen by God. There's a tension in Scripture of sinners choosing to give their lives to God in faith and God choosing sinners himself. Instead of trying to reconcile the tension, let us allow it to linger. Compassionate Christians are ones who have been chosen by God.

 

2. Is Holy

Typically the word, holy, is a word designated to describe the God we worship, however, there are plenty of instances where the New Testament writers declare Christians to be holy. And this is for good reason. To be ones who are compassionate to others is just one way that Christians display their holiness. To be holy means to be set apart. With this simple definition it is clear that the Church is a set apart community of people who are called to be like their Father who is in Heaven.

 

3. Is Beloved

God calls his sons and daughters his beloved ones. This is a very personal declaration by God to each and every one of you. Compassionate Christians are ones who are dearly loved by their Father. Since this is the case, they walk with all hope and assurance that they are valued. Never do they need to question whether or not they are loved. They indeed are!

 

4. Has Been Given a New Heart to Put On

God is in the life-change business. His secret sauce is doing this life-change from the inside out. He begins with the heart. A compassionate Christian is able to be compassionate because God has given them a new heart, a heart that moves them to be one who is compassionate.

 

In light of 1-4, take a look at the verse below.

Colossians 3:12

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Paul is speaking to a church of Christians. He is speaking to people just like you. People following Jesus in a crazy world, trying to figure out what life looks like. You have been chosen by God, you have been declared holy and beloved, and, in light of that reality, you told to put on a heart of compassion. Christians are compassionate people because their identity - the very definition of who they are - necessitates them to be this way.

5. Has Been Comforted

God comforts so that the comforted may comfort those who are afflicted. The troubles that compassionate Christians face can be turned into tools to offer comfort to those who are dealing with those very same things. To be able to say, I know what you're going through, and to truly be able to know, is a huge blessing for the person who is in the middle of a storm. A compassionate Christian is one who has been comforted so that he or she may be able to comfort others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Here's the reality in light of this: Comforted people comfort people. <- Tweet That

 

6. Takes Action

The American Church is good at talking about the issues of the day, but not very good at doing something about them. Compassionate Christians are ones who, in light of the issues of the day, take action. They don't make excuses, they do something. They understand that they may not solve every problem in their community or in the world, but they also understand that they shouldn't use that as an excuse to do nothing. When they see someone who is hungry, they feed them. When they see someone who is thirsty, they give them something drink. When they are confronted with problems, they become part of the solution rather than part of the passersby who do nothing, but move their mouths.
Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and yougave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them,‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

7. Follows Jesus

As simple as it is, this is the calling of those who follow Jesus. In order to follow Jesus, you must be about the things he was about, you must do the things he did. Jesus had compassion on the crowds and did something about it. He fed them. He healed them. And ultimately, he died for them. In the same way that Jesus gave of himself, we are to do the very same thing. We are to be living sacrifices who are about God's business. We are to be individuals who are joined together by the Spirit of God who unites us and brings us into a community called the Church. And the Church is to be a community that is about bringing God's kingdom to earth as it is in Heaven. To bring the good news into a world that is full of bad news. 

 

If you call yourself a Christian, you are called to be compassionate because you are: chosen, holy, and beloved. You have been given a new heart. You have been comforted in your times of trouble. Now, go live into your identity. Take action. Follow Jesus. 

Don't miss a great opportunity to be compassionate this Sunday at The Crossing. Seriously. Don't miss it. Come to both services, get your serve on, and be compassionate!

Check out last year's Compassion Sunday highlight video below.

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