TEEN TREE          OF LIFE

The Doctrine of Compassion

Part 6

February 9, 2020

 

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In last week’s Teen Tree, we looked closely at King David and how his life was nearly destroyed because he had become arrogant and had fallen in to reversionism. We learned how God showed David great compassion by forgiving him for what happened when he fell in love with Bathsheba (a married woman!) and his subsequent ordering of the death of her husband, Uriah. The compassion, which God showed David, served as a motivation for the production of Divine good throughout the rest of David’s life. This compassion – God’s Compassion – should become an important part of your Christian life. God’s attitude toward David is something we should remember whenever we have difficulty showing compassion toward people in our own lives.

We’re faced with these times a lot. Think about the last time someone was deliberately mean to you. Maybe your brother got grounded for getting into a fight at school and then because he was so angry about it, he picked a fight with you! That’s a time when you should show him compassion for what he’s going through. You should forgive him for lashing out at you. You should try to consider what other people are facing in their own lives and then remember what a God of Compassion we have. This is how you apply the Doctrine of Compassion to your life! It’s as simple as remembering God’s Compassion to mankind and then trying to be like Him.

 

A great example of God’s Compassion is when He led the Israelites through the wilderness and into the Promised Land against all sorts of enemies: But they, our ancestors, were arrogant; bullheaded, they wouldn’t obey your commands. They turned a deaf ear, they refused to remember the miracles you had done for them; They turned stubborn, got it into their heads to return to their Egyptian slavery. And you, a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, Incredibly patient, with tons of love—you didn’t dump them. Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf and said, “This is your god Who brought you out of Egypt,” and continued from bad to worse, You in your amazing compassion didn’t walk off and leave them in the desert. The Pillar of Cloud didn’t leave them; daily it continued to show them their route; The Pillar of Fire did the same by night, showed them the right way to go. (NEH 9:16-19 The Message Bible)

 

Look at what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said about compassion to the Pharisees who questioned why He was dining with sinners: But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (MAT 9:13) He was quoting the prophet Hosea, who, centuries earlier, had condemned the Jews for attempting to excuse their idolatry and their oppression of the poor by offering the prescribed animal sacrifices. Our Lord wants us to show compassion because it’s part of the Christian Way of Life which He came to earth to teach us! And because He “desires compassion,” we must listen to Him and show compassion to others, too.

The apostle Paul shared the same lesson with the Colossians. Much false teaching had taken place in the early church of Colossae. This is actually why Paul wrote the Book of Colossians. Here’s what he wrote about compassion: So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (COL 3:12-13 The Message Bible). Now that’s a very cool way to put it – dress in compassion. Just think about what a wonderful person you would be, if each day you got up and consciously dressed yourself in compassion!

 

Remember that compassion is not emotion; it’s not something you feel. It’s a sympathetic consciousness of other people and their troubles, with a desire to help. The idea here is that you make yourself aware of what others are going through and your reaction is to help them get through it – just like God does with each of us. Having compassion is a part of the humility that motivates us to be aware of the needs, sensitivities, and problems of others. When you’re humble, you don’t think you’re better than other people. If you have humility (the opposite of being arrogant), your reaction to people who hurt you, won’t be anger or contempt, it will be compassion.

 

Having compassion can allow healing to take place in other people’s lives. Let’s look at LUK 15:1-2 which sets the stage for Our Lord’s teaching of The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” This parable is the third of three parables in LUKE 15 directed at a mixed audience of tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees (religious leaders), and teachers of the law. All three parables are on the topic of lost things being found: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. This third parable starts with Jesus saying: “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.” (LUK 15:11-19 (The Message Bible)

 

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had His specific audience – a mixture of “sinners” and “self-righteous” – in mind when he told these three stories. These parables were His response to the Pharisees and teachers of the law accusing him of welcoming sinners and eating with them. He was being compassionate to the “tax collectors and the sinners” but they couldn’t see that, because they saw themselves as righteous, while seeing those Jesus were dining with as sinners.

Then in LUKE 15: 20-24 (The Message Bible), Jesus continues: “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

 

In the meantime, the older son had been faithfully working in the fields for his father. Seeing his father celebrating the return of his rebellious brother really made him angry so he refused to join the celebration. His father pleaded with the older son to try to understand his joy over the return of what he had lost when his younger son left. The father tried to explain that he’d felt as though his youngest son had been dead and was alive again. The story ends with the father pleading with the oldest son who shows himself as completely incapable of showing compassion.

 

The interesting thing about Our Lord’s parable of “The Prodigal Son” is that it’s left open-ended and without a resolution. It ends with the older son left standing outside the house, with the father trying to convince him to enter the banquet feast. Essentially, the father was trying to get his older son to have compassion for his brother and for him. You’d have expected the older son to have compassion, based on how he had faithfully worked in the fields and done the right thing with his inheritance. But his motivation was all wrong. He wasn’t acting out of compassion. His motivation was all wrong. We have to watch out that our motivation for helping others comes from the compassion we have for others. It isn’t enough to do the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing!

{to be continued}

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