TITLE: “The Compassion Connection”
GREEK WORD WITH ENGLISH TRANSLITERATION: (eleeo)
STRONG’S CONCORDANCE #: 1653
BACKGROUND OF WORD (ETYMOLOGY): the original word had the idea of giving alms to what we might call a street begger; meant to have pity on one in serious need; the general meaning is to have compassion or mercy on a person in unhappy circumstances.
HOW TRANSLATED IN KJV, NASB AND/OR ESV: compassion; mercy
# OF TIMES USED IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT: 30
KEY VERSE IN THE BIBLE WHERE GREEK WORD USED:
Jude 22 – “And of some have compassion (eleeo), making a difference.” KJV
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
If you are burdened for someone who isn’t serving God the way he or she used to, it’s time for you to do something about it. Worrying won’t change a thing! But turning that worry into action can make a big difference in the outcome of that other person’s life. But just what sort of action?
You can make a difference in someone else’s life! That is precisely why Jude 22 tells us, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Do you see the word “compassion” in this verse? This important word is taken from the Greek word eleoo, which in this case refers to deep-seated and unsettling emotions a person feels when he has seen or heard something that is terribly sad or upsetting.
These are the kinds of emotions that well up inside you when you see a child whose stomach is bloated from malnutrition and starvation. You might also feel these emotions when you see a person who is emaciated and dying of terminal cancer or a destitute family that is forced to live on the streets with no food and money.
Jude’s purpose in using the Greek word eleeo is very plain. He is doing exactly what television programs do when they flash pictures of starving children with bloated stomachs on the television screen in front of us. The producers of these programs show us these kinds of worst-scenario pictures in order to stir us to action.
These pictures of desperate misery from Third World countries are flashed in front of us while emotionally moving music plays in the background. Then the celebrity host on the program says in an impassioned voice, Pick up your phone and call today. Your call could save the life of a child.
These kinds of television programs are designed to stir up emotional feelings of pity and compassion. The producers of the programs realize that simply stating a need verbally would never get our attention; we’re just too mentally busy in today’s society. Therefore, they make the need as graphic as they possibly can, knowing that pictures speak a thousand words and are much more effective in arousing pity from our hearts.
However, arousing pity is not the ultimate aim of these programs. The horrifying pictures and emotional musical background are designed to convince you to pick up your telephone, call the phone number on the television screen, and make a donation to help the cause of the sponsoring organization. This compulsion to act and to do something is the moment when pity is transformed into compassion. By itself, pity would simply feel sorry about the situation. But compassion cannot sit by and idly watch the scenario grow worse. Compassion reaches out to act immediately and to do something about the situation.
It is unmistakably clear that Jude wants to elicit an emotional response from his readers. He wants them to graphically see and understand the seriousness of believers who have backslidden into a life of sin and disobedience. He wants his readers to feel for these critically ill spiritual patients. In fact, he wants them to feel their condition so intensely that he says, And of some have compassion…. In other words, Jude is telling his readers to take that pity and turn it into action!
You see, when genuine compassion begins to flow from your heart, you cannot sit idly by and simply feel sorry about a person’s situation. Real compassion says, I have to get up and do something about this!
Because Jude uses the word compassion, he is telling us that the spiritual condition of a backslidden believer is just as real and serious as the plight of a starving child, a dying man, or a destitute family. If you will allow the love of God to flow through you, it won’t be long until compassion for these erring believers begins to flow from you to them. Then you will be compelled to see them set free from their bondage! That compulsion is the activity of compassion!
You may think, Yes, but those believers knew better! If they had stayed faithful in their walk with the Lord, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in right now. Isn’t it their fault that they’re in trouble?
The answer to this question may be Yes, they are to blame for their condition. However, consider this: Wouldn’t you want others to have compassion on you and toward you if you were to receive the consequences of your sinful action?
In the same way, even though a sinning believer may have gotten himself into trouble because of his own actions, we must not therefore shut off the flow of God’s compassion that resides within us. Believers who have become spiritually deceived need a touch of God’s power more than they ever did before! Therefore, we cannot let the enemy sow hardheartedness in our hearts toward people who have become spiritually ill or backslidden. Their plight is very serious, and they need our help and prayers of intercession!
While there is always the cause for church discipline and shunning someone when they refuse to repent, the focus here is on those who have sinned, realize their sin, and have moved towards repentance and yet are still struggling. We are not talking of defiant people here. In fact, Jude actually refers to those types earlier in Jude 18 & 19 where he says, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” I am not referring to these sort of “scoffers” as we truly need to separate ourselves from them. There are times that these scoffers need to be let alone. But I am referring to those who still have hope and we just need to express compassion…not condemnation.
CHALLENGE FOR THE WEEK:
If you know people who fit this description, it’s time for you to let the supernatural compassion of Jesus Christ begin to flow out of your heart toward them. These error-ridden believers need a divine touch from God that will open their eyes and bring them back to the Lord. By releasing a flow of this powerful force toward them, you could set in motion the very deliverance these individuals need from the powers of darkness that bind their souls and keep them in deception.
This is why Jude urges us to release this delivering flow of compassion when he says, And of some have compassion…. This kind of compassion is a mighty force that reaches even into the flames of judgment to snatch people from destruction. Why not open the bowels of your heart and allow this supernatural flow of compassion to start flowing through you today? Just think by opening your heart and letting compassion flow through you toward these people, you could be the very one God uses to bring them back home again!
Make a commitment today to allow compassion to flow through me like a river! You need to be filled with the love of God, and allow that love to touch others who are near you. The bowels of your heart need to release the compassion of Jesus Christ, touching the lives of people caught in the deception of sin and darkness and setting them free!
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
1. Do you know anyone who is no longer walking with God and for whom you need to be praying and interceding right now?
2. Have you acted in a judgmental way toward a sinning or erring believer; someone who right now really needs your prayers and intercession, not your condemnation? If your answer is yes, I suggest that you take a few minutes to get your heart right with God and then begin to regularly pray for his or her deliverance.
3. Have you ever been caught in a deception, but someone loved you through it until you were set free and put back on a straight course? Who was that person who stood with you through that ordeal? Did you ever take the time to express your gratefulness for his or her love and patience toward you during that time?
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
Lord, please forgive me for being hardhearted, condemning, and judgmental toward people who have needed my prayers, intercession and compassion. Instead of wasting all my time judging them, I could have been praying for them. Now I see my mistake, and I truly repent for it. Starting today, I pledge to change my attitude to open my heart and let the compassion of Jesus Christ flow through me to help set their deliverance in motion. Let Your compassion begin flowing through me today! I pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen.