The Right Signal

[Jesus] saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them. -Matthew 14:14

It was a tragic mistake. On July 3, 1988, the navy cruiser USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner with 290 aboard. All were lost. The ship’s captain mis­takenly thought they were under attack by an F-14 Iranian fighter.

Public opinion polls showed that most Americans opposed paying compensation to the victims’ families. The cruel treatment of American hostages in Iran was still fresh in many minds. But President Reagan approved compensation. Asked by reporters if such payment would send the wrong signal, he replied, “I don’t ever find compassion a bad precedent.”

To many people, the principle of revenge is so much simpler to practice. Yet compassion is Christ’s way — a deep caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the whole person. It reveals the heart of God for sinful people — for you and for me.

The feeding of the 5,000 was a miracle that proved Him to be God’s Son. It was also born out of compassion. Jesus was moved by the physical and spiritual needs of the people (Matt. 14:14; Mark 6:34). He was not content just to teach them and then send them on their way.

As Christians, we must look at the whole person through the eyes of Jesus. Being moved by compassion always sends the right signal.

Give me a heart sympathetic and tender,
Jesus, like Thine, Jesus, like Thine;
Touched by the needs that are surging around me,
And filled with compassion divine. -Anon.

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