By Jon Walker
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” (Zechariah 7:9–10 NIV)
The Holy Spirit empowers you to love others with a love that, like God’s peace, surpasses any human understanding. This Jesus-love growing within you gives you direction and compassion as you help people rebuild their lives. It’s a love that, flowing through you, gives hope to those in despair and offers others a fresh start when it seems they have nothing left.
God empowers us to:
• Pursue justice. We show compassion when we act as a voice for those who have no voice. Our compassion can help the powerless, the ignored, the forgotten, the defeated, and the falsely accused.
• Extend mercy. When we show mercy to those in the wrong, it doesn’t mean we’re letting someone off the hook; rather, it means we recognize he/she is a flawed human, just like us, in need of salvation.
• Express kindness. In the graceless age, we can show kindness, even to those with whom we disagree. We can model civility and respect.
• Give others advantage. Instead of focusing on getting the advantage, we can use what advantage and privileges we do have to help others. We can willingly put ourselves at a disadvantage in order to serve someone else, such as when Jesus, the leader and the Messiah, washed the feet of his disciples.
• Protect vulnerable people. Our compassion compels us to look out for the interests of others, in particular, those in volatile or vulnerable situations.
Jon Walker is author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work ‘Life Together’. He is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals.
Copyright © 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.