There really is no better declaration of compassion than the one Jesus made on the cross. The Lord saw that his people were headed for ruin and He could not bear it, so He set us free. The God of heaven ached over the thought of losing us. He was then, and will always be, a place of warmth, safety, love, and tender mercy. The Bible gives many examples of God’s compassion for His people. Read on for some verses that put his loving kindness on display.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds
There is no hurt that God cannot heal. Through time and closeness with Him, our wounds can gradually become less painful. Though a scar may remain in the place of injury, the memory of God’s presence and compassion will remain as well.
Exodus 34:5-6 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
It makes me ache to think of God letting us know, wanting us to know, that this is His nature. He makes it clear when describing himself that who He is-is love. After watching His people constantly disobey and disrespect him, he still begins by saying that His love and grace are abundant. There is no why or how to compassion such as this…only thankfulness.
2 Kings 13:23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.
How often do we as humans hurt God? Daily, we struggle with addictions, idols, mistreatment of others, etc. Often we ignore Him and place greater importance on the things we can obtain. It is the same today as it was in the book of Kings. We sin, as they did. And yet, then and now, God refuses to punish us as we deserve. He extends grace, and concern for our well-being, at every turn. He is still unwilling to banish us from his presence. We must run to the safety that awaits us there, safe in His arms of compassion.
Nehemiah 9:19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
We all find ourselves walking alone in the dark. We look around and discover that day has given way to night and we are lost in the woods. But God can light up our darkness like the dawn. His love burns like a torch guiding our way. Whether it be a season of daytimes or a long journey through the night, He does not leave us.
Mark 1:41 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
It is hard to ignore the tenderness of Jesus in this passage. A man whom none would even touch, making a plea for God to place His hands on him. His belief in Jesus is matched by Jesus’s compassion for Him, and he is healed. Because Jesus is always willing.
Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus knew that these people had been wondering, aimlessly, trying to find their way home. That they were desperate for guidance, for protection, for care. His heart ached as He saw how much they needed him. He was a caring shepherd whose sheep had been lost, and He knew it was His job to guide them home.
Luke 15:20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
What better declaration of God’s compassion than Luke 15? Jesus himself tells the story of a boy who thought he had wandered too far, sinned too much, to be welcomed back into his father’s house. He believes he can never again be his father’s child, but perhaps can work his way out of some of his debt. Yet, his father only welcomes him home joyously, overwhelmed with the happiness of his son’s return. H bears no grudge. He holds no debt. He has been reunited with his lost child, and now the rejoicing can begin. This, says Christ, is how God welcomes us. This is the picture of our homecoming, no matter how far way we have traveled.
Sometimes we grow so busy trying to please a God we are a little bit afraid of. We want Him to like us-to choose us as His favorite. So we jump through hoops, serve every need, and follow every commandment we can. We beg for forgiveness and refuse to believe we have done enough good to wipe out all of the bad. I think God shakes his head at us when we act this way. Like a loving parent, all He really desires is that we come to Him. That, as an act of faith that He is who He says He is (see verses above), we would rest in His love and mercy. We would believe in His compassion so much, that we would live our lives basking in it, rather than trying to earn it. Maybe he knew it would be difficult for us to comprehend. Maybe that’s why He left so many verses of the Bible to attest to it. Should you need a reminder, please reread these passages, and believe in his love for you. By doing so, we return his compassion with our own.