David Ash
Growing A Heart Of Compassion

When we think about the subject of compassion it's so easy to assume that some people are better at it than others. Whilst this is true, it is also something which all Christians are encouraged to develop as a spiritual gift.

On a Sunday morning recently Graham and Sarah shared something of the heart God has given them and the way they felt called to become foster carers for Derby City Council. In this article we take a look at some of the themes which they spoke about and the subject of compassion which we believe God is calling us to have as a local church.

If we are to become true disciples of Jesus then one facet of our lives which we should seek to grow in is the area of Compassion. Why? because our God is a God of compassion, who loves, and has a particular interest in the lives of the poor, needy and vulnerable. The Bible shows us that God weeps over those who are forgotten by society and we are called to take on His heart for them.

So as we look at this subject we ask you Lord that you would change our hearts and that they would become more like your heart. Amen.

Frightened of Emotion
Actually there is a sense that we can be a bit frightened of emotion, of feeling emotion, of feeling compassion for those around us. We shouldn't, though, be frightened to feel emotion when we see a homeless person on the street. Don't be frightened to cry and to feel their pain. To feel the heartache that they are feeling. Don't be frightened to see that baby who hasn't got a mum or dad, don't be frightened to cry about it, because that is God's heart, that He is putting in you!

It's actually ok to feel these things, maybe you've never really felt them before, maybe you've always felt that the area of compassion is 'something for other people'. But God is calling us to be those who feel, to have His heart for the world around us. To feel what it is like to have a broken heart.

As you begin to feel these things, God will also give you things. He'll give you all that you need to go and to mend those broken hearts. He won't leave you, and expect you to do that on your own. He will give you the heart that He wants you to have for the broken, the needy, the hurting.

Step Out
God wants His people, His church to step out, we're being called into new things of the Spirit. We're being called into new areas of compassion. Maybe you are already a compassionate person - God is going to give you even more compassion for those around you. Maybe you are saying, "you know what I can't have any more because it already hurts so much". God wants you to know that while you may feel you have reached your limit, he has so much more compassion for the broken, the needy, the homeless, the widow and the orphan.

His heart breaks every time and He wants to give you a heart after His own heart. He is calling us and saying: "are you prepared, are you prepared to have that broken heart? Are you prepared to make that sacrifice, the sacrifice of a broken heart?"

If your answer is yes, then God promises to go with you, He will go before you, He will give you all the tools you will need and you will see miracles, you will see hearts and lives being transformed, you will see people's lives turned around. Not only will He give you compassion but He will also give you the tools you need to go and make a difference in the lives of those around you who so desperately need to know His love.

The Joy of Seeing Lives Restored
Do you know what? It is such a joy when we see young children's hearts mended! We have seen so many broken hearts restored, the broken hearts of young children and babies who have been orphaned, who have been hurt, abused and rejected. We have had the privilege of seeing their hearts mended. We have been able to love them through their darkest days and we have seen them grow into confident young people. That's because God has given us all that we need to do that. It's not because of who we are, it's all about who God is and He has given us all that we need.

This is the sort of compassion that God wants to give us in abundance.

So Father God, I pray now for anyone who is reading this and I ask, won't you come now by your Holy Spirit, would you come and break our hearts Lord, for the things which break your heart? Let us not be fearful of emotions, of crying, of weeping but Lord, let us be bold, strong and full of faith as we step out. As we say to you, God, we are prepared to have our hearts broken for your glory Lord. So Father God, Holy Spirit, would you come now, stir in our hearts, give us all that we need, give us compassion in abundance, Lord Jesus.

God, we say, we are yours, use us, here I am, send me. Here we are God, send us out, to the vulnerable, to the needy, to the broken hearted.

As we go out, we know that God will give us His joy, we will laugh, we will have fun, we will meet some amazing people and be part of their stories. So just allow God to use you, don't be frightened. So we say, come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit, break our hearts God, in order that you would be glorified in all that we do.

Compassion is a quality which all Christians should seek to develop. It's a reflection of God's love for the world and is an essential part of true discipleship. While we may feel frightened of the emotions that accompany compassion, God calls us to have His heart for the broken, needy and hurting. We should allow God to use us, He will give us all that we need as we seek to go and bind up broken hearts.

You can listen to the preach which Graham shared on 29th October 2023, that Graham & Sarah wrote together about the subject of Compassion here:

Remember The Poor
If you have been inspired by this subject, then you may want to listen to the following talk by Simon Pettit on the subject of The Apostolic Mandate For The Poor - Remember The Poor:

When Simon shared this message at the Newfrontiers International Leaders Meeting in Brighton it was a watershed moment for us as a movement and it has shaped much of who we are and will continue to do so into the future.