"The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." Psalm 145:9 (NIV)
God created us all and is a parent to us all, whether we live in the United States, Australia, Burkina Faso or Syria. God's children in Kiribati are in danger of losing their homes because of rising sea waters. Hundreds of God's children worshiping in Mecca were crushed in a crowd stampede. God's children, fleeing from atrocities in Syria, drowned when their boats capsized in the Mediterranean. God's children kill each other, often claiming to do so in God's name. God's children in many countries don't even know Him.
God feels the pain of the world so much that in Jesus, God came to show people the way, to teach us the truth, and to give us life. Jesus calls us to follow him and to be as compassionate as he was to all people. Jesus embodied compassion. Traveling with his disciples, he spread the good news through words and deeds. Jesus was always flipping social standards upside down. He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, cheaters and liars. Rather than receiving compassion, he showed compassion to people from all walks of life. With his love, he sought not to glorify himself, but God. Compassions doesn't simple see the need and express sorrow for the afflicted. Compassion demands action. It motivates, strategizes, and searches for answers. It is a deep feeling, a gift from God to us and to the suffering to let them know that someone cares.
Ask your teen...
What does practicing compassion look like?
It's holding the door open for the elderly gentleman behind you.
It's offering change to the person in McDonalds that is short of cash.
It's offering your coat to a shivering homeless man.
It's donating food to those who are starving.
It's a simple gesture of kindness.
Challenge your teen...
Think about how God wants you to respond to the needs of other people. Are you willing to be inconvenienced? Sometimes helping people is hard. Maybe they don't want help, or maybe we're too afraid of offending someone or too busy to offer it. That's not a reason to stop trying. Jesus never gave up on people who were sick or in need, but did everything he could to help them.