Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.
Our Compassionate Savior
The Bible is not the only book to instruct us to “live in harmony with one another,” as the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans. Buddhism, Hinduism, and other world religions—even secular philosophies—give us much the same guidance for life. Our own consciences warn us that we would do well to treat others around us with love and compassion. But no matter who gives us this advice or how often we hear it, we still struggle to put ourselves in the shoes of others or to put their needs and feelings ahead of our own. Our natural inclination is so turned inward that we are blind to the ways that we could be a blessing to others. And when we do think of others, it is often with jealousy, envy, contempt and pride.
Fortunately, the Bible not only tells us what we should be doing, it tells us what God’s Son has done for us. Jesus Christ perfectly considered what others needed from him. He offered forgiveness to those who crucified him. He wept along with the mourners at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. He performed his first miracle at a wedding reception to help the joyful celebration continue even as he revealed his glory as the Son of God. At Christmas, we rejoice at the news that God loved us so much that he took on our own flesh and blood. He took our sorrows on himself. He took on the weight of our sin. And he carried the guilt of our selfishness to the cross where he paid for it in full.
Jesus has shared in our sorrows so that he can share his joy with us. In him we find God’s grace and the promise of forgiveness. In him we find compassion so deep that it spills over into our own hearts. In Christ Jesus we find joy in serving others and in bringing his message of peace to everyone.
Lord Jesus Christ, you loved me when I was unlovable. May your compassion for everyone be reflected in the way that I live. Teach me to see the ways that I can be a blessing to others as you are to me. Amen.
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