I continue to be amazed at the wickedness that is our world today. It seems that the crowds of people in this world are so corrupt, so far from God, even so dangerous, that it almost makes me feel hopeless to make a difference.
But, today I was reading the 9th chapter of Matthew and read a verse (probably for the 500th time) that really struck me. Matthew wrote it this way in the 36th verse. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Did you read that? Jesus was looking at the crowds of people, those people who would not listen to him, would not follow him, and would end up killing him, and he had compassion on them because of the state of the world they lived in and because of the state of their hearts.
Jesus saw beneath their stubbornness, beneath their sin nature, beneath their arrogant rebellion, and beneath their desire to do things their own way and he felt compassion for them because they were helpless and harassed.
How many of us in the church today look at the crowds that way? How many of us look out into a crowd of people who are far from God, rebellious, and doing their own thing and feel compassionate toward them? I’m afraid the feelings that so many of us have toward the crowds is far from compassionate.
I believe it was the Holy Spirit that opened Jesus’ eyes to see people differently than we do. I believe the Holy Spirit opened his eyes so he could see their hopelessness and helplessness and feel compassion toward them. But, I believe that same Holy Spirit that lives inside of us can open our eyes to see things differently, too!
I have to ask the Holy Spirit to let me see people differently. I have to ask him to fill me and change my eyesight so I can see things differently; then, I pray that I will be able to look out amongst the crowds and see the helplessness, the harassment, and the hopelessness and feel compassion toward them.
Then, I pray that my compassion spurs me to action. I pray that I will act on that compassion. Perhaps its just speaking encouraging words to someone. Maybe it’s helping someone lift a heavy load. Maybe it’s buying a warm cup of coffee or a cold bottle of water for someone. My action born of compassion could manifest in many different ways, but it can only be born of the Holy Spirit.
I can’t continue to look at the crowds the way I have in the past. Holy Spirit give me eyes to see things differently.