http://bible.com/116/mat.14.14.nlt Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Compassion + Truth = Understanding + Application
Jesus performed miracles to confirm his identity and authority. Sometimes these miracles were a clear part of His teaching the people a spoken lesson, and sometimes it was done out of compassion, demonstrating His love in action.
There is a time for our focus to be on sharing a lesson, and a time to focus on compassion. But there should always a little of both, as we see in Christ’s example He taught love by demonstrating it, not just by talking about it.
Teaching and compassion working together demonstrates that we have understanding and are applying God’s word effectively in our lives. It is evidence of Christ working in us and through us as opposed to us trying to work towards one or the other.
If we are only focused on teaching and leave out compassion, we will find ourselves like the loveless church, like a clanging cymbal, with no power and no fruit because our lives are clearly not an example of Christ alive in us. We can have all the schooling and knowledge and theology, but if we don’t have love, we have nothing.
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
If we focus only on compassion for others, we might find ourselves in error and leading others down a path that is not the will of God because we are still in darkness and have no understanding of truth. Being benevolent and caring about someone who needs a healing touch does no good if we are neither a gifted healer or a trained surgeon. If we aren’t learning and applying truth in our lives and resisting sin and obeying the Word of God, we are a danger to others even if we have good intentions because we are not equipped and prepared to help them.
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
So let our compassion teach truth, and let our sharing truth be done with compassion.
Let’s walk this narrow path, neither condemning those lost in legalism who have forgotten compassion, nor condemning those relying upon grace and still lost in sin – but offering them the balance that is found on the narrow path, hoping that they might find it even though it is rarely walked – and trusting that we will remain on it as He establishes our footsteps and we continue walking in faith.
If I’m walking this path on my own, I will pick a direction and walk it, focused on my direction. Without his loving and correcting touch, I will end up at one extreme or the other. Praise God for His compassion upon me and His constant corrections as He keeps me on this narrow path. He is Faithful and True.