• Tyler Barnes

Why do you Church? Compassion

by Tyler Barnes

I have been reading through the Gospels lately, and if I had to sum Jesus’ actions up into one word it would be compassion. Pick any story involving Jesus and it typically goes like this: he sees a need, then scripture says “he had compassion on them”, and finally he meets that person’s needs. Scripture has challenged me to act the same. I’ve been confronted by the fact that my heart has slowly hardened, become calcified by judgement, resentment, frustration, and shame. Slowly, day by day, the compassion I had when I was newly saved has slipped away. Don’t misunderstand, I still have a well-meaning Christian veneer of compassion that covers the surface. It’s the deep, overwhelming compassion that dominates your every thought and action that has disappeared.

What would church look like if compassion drove every decision? I think we would look past the outward appearance and see the people we meet as Jesus does. Luke 9:48 says, “…Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” At my church, we get to serve new students each week, some of who can be challenging. What if I started seeing them with eyes of compassion, like Jesus does. Would I act different? Would I be more helpful, patient, kind, engaging, and loving? How would your life look? Would it look different than it does now?

For me, I know that if I lived out radical compassion every day, everywhere I went, I would have lived a life worth living. That’s the man I want to be. That life would look like Matthew 25:35-40, ‘’’For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 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.’” I can never repay the price Jesus paid the day he was crucified, but I can feed a hungry child, clothe a man without a winter jacket, visit my neighbor sick in the hospital, and see a friend in prison. It’s time to be the church America needs and God has called us to be.