I happened to be channel surfing last evening and happened upon a clip from the independent film, “Bella”. It is being promoted among Christian circles as a “pro-life” movie, though I have not seen it yet, others say that is not its major thrust. The trailer I watched has a scene it which the staring couple happens upon a blind man sitting on the side walk in New York City with a sign beside him that reads, “God closed my eyes…now I see. The sign alone carries a powerful message…but I digress.
The blind man senses the couple’s presence and says, “Today is a beautiful day…right”?
Then without hesitation he says, “Describe it to me.” The young lady responded, “Just an ordinary day in New York City…you know. People rushing back and forth, everybody’s got some where to go, somewhere to be. Nobody cares about nothing. Like a human driven clock…never stops”.
The blind man answers, “Oh…wish I could see that.”
As I reflected a bit on this brief portion of the movie I was struck with the feeling that her description could fit most any city of size anywhere in the world. Cities filled with people with places to go, people to see and deadlines to meet. Jesus came to a world, although separated by centuries from our own, that had pretty much the same mind set. But it was not long until Jesus not only stood out in the crowd, the crowd had assembled because of Him.
What was it that made Jesus so attractive? What was it that set Him apart from the” crowd”, so to speak? Some would say His miracles, others His radical teaching. If I had to choose just one it would be His compassion. Jesus was compassionate about people. He was not just conscious of the people; he was compassionate for the people. In Matthew 14 a multitude of people are following Jesus and the disciples tell Him to send them away to find food. Jesus responds by telling the disciples, “You feed them.” The disciples were conscious of people, Jesus was compassionate for people.
In Matthew 19 people are bringing children to Jesus to have Him bless them and the disciples told them not to be a bother to the Lord. But Jesus tells them to allow the children to come to Him and He blessed them. The disciples were conscious of people, Jesus was compassionate toward people.
When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan He taught the lesson that often religious people are conscious of others and their needs, but often are not compassionate about those people and their needs.
Maybe one of the reasons that people are not interested in hearing us talk about Jesus is that they have not first seen Jesus in us. The problem with using words when talking about Jesus is a problem of communication. There are at least three messages that may be present in our words: (1) what I intend to say, (2) what I actually say and (3) what others hear. When we act with the compassion of Christ toward others they realize that we are more than just conscious that they exist, we are compassionate about them as well.
People who go around coercing people into “decisions” for Christ are not only doing a total disservice to Jesus (IMHO), they are presenting a distorted picture of Jesus. The Jesus that was “attractive” was not some “in your face” sort of teacher when talking to the non-religious. He compassionately touched, healed and met the needs of those who came to Him.
I am trying to learn to be more compassionate. I don’t want to just be conscious of people I want to be compassionate about people. I think the longer I hang around Jesus the more that will happen in my life.