Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV)

Jesus tells the story of a man who was beaten and robbed by a bunch of thugs. Severely injured and left on the road to die, he was without hope. Soon two men came upon his beaten, bruised and battered body. Each of them took stock of the situation and decided it was best if they moved on. The third man, a hated Samaritan came along and saw the man laying there in a pool of blood. Realizing there was no time to waste, he bandaged the man’s wounds and brought him to safety. He had compassion on him.

Compassion. The dictionary defines it as a consciousness of someone else’s distress with an urgent desire to alleviate it. Sympathy is understanding and perhaps even sharing the emotions of another person in distress, but compassion takes that a step farther by seeking ways in which to alleviate the pain.

James tells us, what good is it, when you see someone in need to say “I’ll pray for you, I feel bad about your plight.” (My paraphrase from James 2) Referring back to our example of the story Jesus told. Let’s give the first two men that came upon the victim some credit. Let’s say, for the sake of argument that they stopped, looked and even prayed over the man who was beaten to a bloody pulp. Of what benefit were there prayers.

It’s interesting that Jesus chose the characters he did. The two that passed by were ‘the religious elite’ of the day. The type of people any pastor would love to have on their board or staff. The one that stopped to give compassion would be looked down upon in most churches.

Perhaps you are the one wounded on the side of the road. You’ve had a history of abuse and abandonment. Your wounds aren’t readily visible to those around you, but the pain is unbearable. Perhaps those bruises were given to you in the name of the church, or for your own good.

Paul writes to the church in Corinth to remind them that we are to be examples of God. God is the one that not only stops to look at your pain, He’s the one that stoops to our level, bandages your wounds, and comforts you in your pain. You may think you have fallen too far. You may think your wounds too deep. You may say you have nothing to offer.

That’s the beauty of our God. None of us have anything of any value to offer him for his kindness. None of us have the resources to purchase his forgiveness. We are comforted only because of his grace.

PRAYER: Father God. I praise you for the assurance we have that you will bandage our wounds and show us your compassion. We are a needy people. We are a wounded people. Thank you for the comfort you offer us through Jesus Christ. Amen.