You find yourself in front of a casket. That casket contains the physical body of a beloved fellow Christian. His soul has already departed this life and returned to its Maker. You say goodbye to his physical shell. You turn to give a hug to the family. You offer your sincere sympathies to his family. You tell them that you will keep them in your prayers. You stay for the funeral service, go to the cemetery, and help serve food at the church meal prepared for the family following the burial. It has been said that “Death brings out the worst in people, and death brings out the best in people.” Death causes people to react in many ways. In this article, I want to look at one virtue that can be displayed when we lose one we love.
Death often produces compassion in those left behind. Let’s begin by defining the word compassion. The simplest definition of compassion is sorrow for the sufferings of another. However, genuine compassion goes deeper than that definition. When we have genuine compassion, we will try to be people who are loving, gracious, and empathetic by the actions we take and not just the emotions we feel. The best example of genuine compassion can be seen in the life of Christ. He was perfect in His compassion. Sadly, some people only show compassion to others during their time of loss.
If there is nothing else you take away from this article, take this next point with you. As God’s people, we need to have compassion unceasingly and express it toward everyone. We need to have true compassion. We need to be loving because the world is empty of genuine love. We need to be gracious because we have no idea what others are facing in their lives. We need to be empathetic. What does this look like?
Luke 10:25-37is the best example in Scripture on what it means to show compassion. Most of us remember this story but take time to read this passage if you are unfamiliar with it. Jesus described how an outcast of society, the Samaritan, showed compassion to a man who had been robbed and beaten nearly to death. He did this not by feeling sorry for the mistreated man only but by providing him aid for his injuries and taking him to a place where he could receive further care. Compassion can be seen in what the Samaritan did and not just what he felt.
Christians, let us not reserve compassion exclusively for the graveyard. We are not showing genuine compassion if we only reserve it for the cemetery. By having compassion daily and showing such by our actions, we can draw people closer to Christ.
At some point in the future, it will come time for your soul to depart from earth. Hopefully, people will come to comfort your family and say their goodbyes to your physical body. I hope you will have lived your life in a compassionate manner. If you have, you will be with your compassionate Savior eternally.