Words of Worth

Compassion: Love in Action

June 29, 2012

A couple who had been married for fifty years were reflecting one day and the wife said, “Things have really changed between us over the years.  You used to sit really close to me but you haven’t done that for a while.”  Her husband said, “I can fix that,” and he got up and moved closer to his wife.  She continued, “You used to hold me real tight.” So he wrapped his arms around her and asked, “How’s that?”  Finally the wife said, “You used to nuzzle my neck and nibble on my ear lobes.”  At that the husband jumped up from the couch and ran out of the room.  When he returned his wife asked him where he had been and he said, “I had to go get my teeth.”

Compassion is often defined as love in action.  Though the story about the husband getting his teeth is humorous, his action demonstrated his love (compassion) towards his wife.  Perhaps when we think of love in action we think of Luke 10 and the story of the Good Samaritan.  However, another good example of extreme compassion for another is found in the book of Ruth where we learn of the love between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, a love of friendship.  If we fast forward in the story to the point where Naomi is left alone—bitter and heartbroken—we see that Naomi insists that her two daughters-in-law leave her and return to their homes.  It is Ruth who stays, even though there is no hope for remarriage or for even much of a future.  Ruth was anything but a fair weather friend.  She was intent on sticking with Naomi no matter what:

“But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.  Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Ruth 1:16-17

At least four lessons of compassion are found in this “love” story.  When we show compassion and love we will:

  1. Stick with someone through tough times. (“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you…”)
  2. Adjust to others. (“Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”)
  3. Reach beyond our comfort zones. (“Where you die, I will die…”)
  4. Offer encouraging words.  (“…for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.”)

Every time we see Jesus showing love in Scripture, we see Him modeling compassion to those who were in close proximity or nearby.  Perhaps there is somebody right now, in close proximity to you, who could use a little compassion or love in action.  Why not reach out to them and offer some encouraging words? (sv)

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