Theme of the Week: Don’t Just Exist
Bible Verse: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-37
When I was 17 years old, I tried to commit suicide due to depression and paranoia. The authorities placed me in a mental hospital for five and a half months. It’s an understatement to say that was the darkest period of my life.
I sustained some injury through my suicide attempt, so I was recuperating physically and mentally at the hospital. I wasn’t a Christian then but looking back now, I know that God gave me a new lease on life. I believe God was shaping me, even then, starting me on a journey toward Jesus, the compassionate Shepherd.
Jesus was full of compassion. He had compassion on the crowds, who were oppressed by both their Roman and Jewish leaders, unable to overcome their plight. Yes, he was teaching and healing them, but he also exhibited heartfelt emotion for them too.
Both Old and the New Testaments reveal a God who cares about his people. Sometimes that care is exhibited in corrective discipline, speaking of God’s wrath. But just as much, we notice the kindness and compassion of God throughout the Scriptures, finding harmony in Jesus’ crucifixion, as both God’s infinite wrath and compassion are displayed.
Without Jesus, I gravitate to being judgmental, critical, and uncaring. I prefer others to be strong. I don’t like what I perceive to be weakness. My suicide attempt and ensuing convalescence impressed upon me that I was weak and in desperate need of help. I was so lost. At the hospital, I witnessed countless adults in various stages of mental breakdown, and I grew sympathetic.
Years later when I began to follow Jesus, God built upon this foundation as the Holy Spirit gradually melted my cold heart toward others and began shaping me to be more understanding and caring.
Prayer: Lord, bless you for being the compassionate and gracious God. Bless your strength. May you strengthen me so that I might be ready to help others in their time of need.
Reflection: How about you? As you go about your days, are you sensitive to those around you who could use a listening ear? Can you make time and space for others in your heart? Jesus says the harvest is plentiful, meaning there will always be people around us who could use some help. Will you offer yourself compassionately as Jesus did?
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