Compassion- what is it Good for?

JOB. No, not job, Job. As in the book of “Job”. You ever read it? I have, and if you haven’t, let me just say that it can be a tough journey. However, if you have the perseverance to make it through, there is a great lesson to be learned.  There are many great things from this, admittedly in hindsight, wonderful book; but the key is that through all the times (both up and down) in your life, God is sovereign, good, and worthy of praise. Through all that we see, we must also realize that we are but human and not possessed of the same knowledge that God has. Recently another great lesson has been shown me from this great book… one I had never thought of before. One that even an unbeliever should find compelling…

It  all started when  a friend of mine name Dave was asking me some questions about the bible. He was at that time on a journey that ended up with his conversion to Christianity and a relationship with Christ, praise God! He had a few problems with the bible at this stage of his journey however, and had the wisdom to ask someone about them. This particular problem was with the book of Job. My first thought was, “you read the whole thing and you aren’t a believer, WHY?!”

After admitting it had been a tough read (makes sense), it was his reason it was tough that was compelling. To sum up his words: “Why did God have to let  Job be put through so much hardship, just to prove a point. I mean, who cares what the devil is saying? Why put a good man through all that?”

I will be honest here, I was a bit taken aback. Not because I couldn’t answer (in fact one answer is itself in the text, God would use this to teach literally millions of other people a great lesson), but because he was looking at it with such compassion for Job that I had never heard before. I mean after the obligatory complaining about how droll it is, most Christians do not talk about feeling bad for Job, and here was a guy not even in the faith yet and expressing Christ’s compassion for a man he will never meet on this earth.

Now admittedly there are many answers to my friend’s question; God is sovereign and allowed Job to go through this to teach others, God knew that Job needed to learn perseverance, or even that God used this testing to teach Job’s friends some lessons. The light bulb moment for me however was this, why do we even have compassion? Really what good comes from compassion? Most often compassion takes a great deal of risk and cost, regularly gaining nothing as a result. If as many people would have us believe, there was no God, why does this emotion even exist? The evolutionists would have to agree that there would be no logical reason to develop this emotion, especially the kind exhibited here where there is absolutely nothing my friend could gain by feeling bad or compassion for Job.

The answer is simple, we have compassion because we are made in God’s image. He has compassion on us, so much so that He gave His son. Look at all the causes out there; the poor, homeless, foreign nations, sickness/diseases, children, elderly, animals of every kind, insects, the environment. All of those have benefits set up by people because of their compassion. Christ and the cross is the epitome of compassion. If we all understood where this desire to help others came from, that our Creator gave it to us, what a difference would that make in our lives? Hopefully this will strike you as well, and today/tomorrow you will have compassion on someone that will cause you to pause and reflect on the One who created you. If it does, thank Him for His compassion on us.

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About Erik Pullum

Married and parent to three wonderful children. I believe that Christianity is a lifestyle that you are supposed to live everyday, not just when it is convenient.
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