Sympathy is not the same thing as compassion. God showed me this years ago.
When Jesus fed the multitudes he was moved with compassion as they had not eaten for three days while listening to him so he said to his disciples “Give them something to eat” Prior to that he was moved with compassion to “teach them”
Because they were like sheep, not having a shepherd. (They Had a sheep nature!)
They were listening to Jesus and Then HE felt for them. being hungry. He did not say ‘let’s go feed everybody in the world today” …… (I did notice this.)
…..Sympathy is different. Sympathy is not always a good thing. There are those who have given sympathy, and saw that it led to co-dependency, making excuses for someone’s bad behavior, and became a never-ending bottomless pit of helping someone will never help themselves, or even grow.
Some of those people who got burned by the sympathy mongers got burned very severely & learned to not give sympathy but got it mixed up it up with compassion, (a Godly quality) and now when God needs them to have compassion they cannot, for they are afraid they will get burned again.
When you are moved with Compassion by God to do something, you will know. You may find yourself like the disciples “HOW LORD am I supposed to do this? He will show you! You may even have a hard time doing it, and it may not be easy for you, but you will know when God is telling you to do something for Him.
You will know because he convicted you to do a certain thing. What you do is also up to him, not for someone else to decide or dictate. This is how we were made free to serve HIM and Made Free to follow after Him.
Sometimes the things he leads you to do may not be your desires 🙂
Martha and Mary were upset with Jesus for not getting there before Lazarus died, but the plan of God was to raise him from the dead. Are we in with God’s plan? Or our own?
If we sympathize with every sob story that comes along, our resources will be drained (our strength and so on) and we won’t be able to do what God wants us to do when we need to do it.
This is why praying is so important. “order my steps Lord” Help me walk by the Spirit, and show me what’s important today.”
This I do strive to do every day of my life. I don’t believe there are cut and dried recipes or formats on “how to behave” or the “right thing to do” according to some christian book for dummies.
We walk by the Spirit! Jesus did. And we ought to do this also. You will know in your heart when something is him. It may be painful, but in your heart, you will just know.
Matthew 9:46, Mark 6:34, Matthew 18:27, Matthew 14:14