“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:” (1 Peter 3:8) To have compassion comes from the Greek sumpathēs / συμπαθής. It means having a fellow feeling (“sympathetic”) that is (by implication) mutually commiserative – having compassion one of another.
Compassion has more than an emotional aspect to it. There is also an aspect of compassion relating to an energetic intensity, intention, and intervention – relating to depth, vigor, and even what we might call passion in carrying out com-passion. In its Latin form, it means co-suffering, to suffer alongside or with. It is more involved and active, giving rise to the active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.
It is most effective when directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. motivated by the “mind” of Christ – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself… (Philippians 2:5-8)
The mind, or attitude, of Jesus Christ is the attitude of taking on the form of a servant, of humbling oneself. “Self” is not at the center of it. The emotion of compassion becomes the willing action of compassion. Emotion transmutes into motion!
That “one mind” Peter speaks of is this “mind of Christ”. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (NASB – ‘a heart of compassion’), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness (gentleness), longsuffering (patience)…”
Putting it on is no “put on” when it’s really the attitude or Mind of Christ! Besides, it’s rather difficult to pull off phony compassion because the ego detests the humility that it takes to actually be compassionate, let alone in any extraordinary, meaningful, and yes even supernatural sense of the word. It’s much easier to walk the path of least resistance looking out for number one – me, myself, and I.
The “heart of compassion” is a heart that is pure toward God. King David prayed mightily for this heart: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalm 51:10-13)
This is definitely a supernatural heart! Not doing what only comes naturally! We are called upon to act supernaturally, filled with the Holy Spirit.
If this was the prayer of the mighty yet humble warrior king of old, certainly it is a valid prayer for all of us in these times, when the claims of Christian life are called into question so severely.
Notice the conclusion – then, when the heart is purified, the spirit rightly motivated, as we dwell in the Divine Presence, and are filled with the Holy Spirit, compassion flows through us from our Heavenly Father. Then will Souls be drawn back to God!
This is a worthy prayer to be spoken every day of our life! It is a cry to God to be set free from self and sin which have entwined themselves within and around us, so that by our attitude, our “mind” in Christ compassion, our life may be radically and effectively supernatural through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our “interior” must change first before the world around us can turn back to the Lord. After all, as the old saying goes, we may be the only Bible some people will ever read.
May it be so consistently from this day forward and forever. Amen.