What is the Cost of Compassion?

Compassion is good, right and noble.

We have to realize, though, that caring for people always has a price tag. Stopping to mend broken hearts and shattered lives requires an investment of time and other resources.

Many individuals and churches don’t want to pour themselves into people who are “unclean” and take so long to see substantial progress, even when they respond to the gospel. People today want instant success, and ministries of compassion rarely meet this standard.

If you are someone who wants to live a life of compassion, someone who wants to love people the way Jesus loves, I commend you. The road will not be easy, but it will be worthy.

Here are some of the things you may have to give up.

Reputation.

I’ve been criticized by leaders of some churches who believed we’d “lost our calling” by giving so much attention to prostitutes, addicts, single moms, and other disenfranchised people. I have a friend named Billy who has experienced some of the same rejection in his life. A powerful politician fighting for justice, he’s lost the respect of certain people for decisions he’s made.

Still, we don’t change our direction.

Rather than change our direction, we have come to recognize this as part of our calling in living a life of compassion. Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s better. It teaches me to take instructions from Jesus, rather than seeking the approval of others.

If we’re going to live life of compassion, we may have to sacrifice our reputation.

Stuff

When you live your life open to what God has for you, you never know what he may ask you to give up. Some of it you may lose just by sheer circumstance (things might get lost or broken) some of it is just to heavy to bring on the journey (if God calls you to make a move, for example) and some of it might actually be taken from you unfairly.

A life of reckless love is messy.

But this is the life abundant Jesus talks about in the gospels. This is the life he calls us to. This is why he says the man who lets go of his life is the one who really finds it. If we want to be the kind of people who live out grace, we can’t just pop in every now and then, when it’s convenient. We have to be willing to give up everything we have.

True transformation happens when powerful people become humble and timid people become bold.

And when we are willing to get into the mess of the story God is writing, the way Jesus did, we participate in the Kingdom building work and experience the life abundant He promised. It’s not glamorous, but it is beautiful.

Question: Have you ever given up stuff, or reputation, in order to have compassion for someone?