Compassion or Indifference

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Bible Reading: Luke 10:25-37

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12, NKJV).  

When Buchenwald was liberated by the United States Army in 1945, Elie Wiesel was sixteen years old. He, his parents, and three sisters had been taken to Auschwitz where his mother and younger sister were killed. Later he and his father were transferred to the concentration camp at Buchenwald where eventually his father declined in health, was beaten for his inability to perform his tasks, and died with Elie watching the injustice. 

Elie later wrote, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. The opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”  

God says in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know thy works [speaking to the church], that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm [indifferent], and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” God wants us to be hot or cold. He wants us to be compassionate and filled with love. Jesus, the Son of God, is our perfect example of love. 

When Jesus saw the individuals and multitudes following Him, He was moved with compassion. What he saw affected Him. He gave His time to those in need. He continued to teach those who were hungry for the truth even when He was hungry for food. He was tired but continued to heal the sick, to comfort the grieving, and to bless the children. At the end of His earthly ministry, He gave Himself to be the perfect sin sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus is the opposite of indifference.      

Jesus once told a story to illustrate indifference in contrast to love and compassion. A certain man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and a band of thieves caught him, stripped him of his clothing, and wounded him, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest came down that way, and when he saw him, he passed by him on the other side. Also, a Levite came by, looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But as a certain Samaritan man traveled, he came where the wounded man lay. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. He set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  

Then Jesus asked the question, “Which now of these three, do you think, was neighbor to the one who was robbed? A lawyer responded, “He that showed mercy to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, and do the same.”  

May our challenge today be to follow Jesus and to see people as He sees them. May we pray—to confess and forsake our indifference, to reach up in fervent prayer to our Father, and to reach out in compassion to a world in need.     


~Harold R Troyer 

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