A Sacrificial Love


hand reaching up

It has been three years now since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the whole world. The pandemic affected billions of lives globally with disease, death, debt, and distress. It has seriously complicated an already broken world. But in the midst of so much brokenness, we have seen many churches become hands and feet of Jesus, salt and light to the world.

In addition to the pandemic that hit us so hard, injustices around us— corruption, greediness, selfishness, hate, violence, crime, poverty, war, and many others—are on the increase daily. While many world leaders talk about peace and progress, the world is deeply divided. In our hostility to one another, we disagree on important matters and often don’t trust each other. In the Philippines, where I live and am a citizen of this archipelago, we are beginning to realize that what is wrong with our nation is not a political divide but rather moral and spiritual crisis. We need more than money to rebuild our cities, our homes, our families, our marriages, our schools, our business, our churches, and our government from the pandemic and other crises. We need more to preserve the next generation— our children and youth. We need the church of Jesus Christ to be once again more and more loving, living the love of God to the lost, the least, and the last.

We need to revisit our understanding of compassion. We need a rebirth of compassion in the church.

Compassion is to suffer with another person—the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the hurting. To have compassion means more than just feeling sorry or sad for those who are hurting or have needs. Having compassion moves you to get down where they are in the midst of their need, to suffer with them in the midst of their pain, to lift them up from their brokenness, and to defend them in their desolation.

In the story of the prodigal son, we read that “when father saw his son, he felt compassion with his son, the father ran towards his son, embraced him, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). It is beyond feelings or emotion. It is more than being sorry for what people are going through. Compassion is not a program nor a project. The Bible teaches us that compassion is when you see the problem, you are moved by the need to act on it. You go out to where the problem is, stand in the gap courageously, bring hope to the people, and get your hands dirty to help someone.

Jesus Christ is the only perfect model of compassion. Across the Gospels, we see Jesus identifying Himself with the poor, the marginalized, and oppressed, acting on their misery to bring them to better heights in life. Matthew 14:14 tells us that Jesus had compassion on the great crowd following Him, so He healed the sick and then fed the five thousand. His compassion did not stop there. Jesus had the same compassion on another crowd and so fed the four thousand (Matthew 15:32). When Jesus saw the two blind men in Jericho (Matthew 20:34), He was filled with compassion and healed them on the spot.

For our Lord Jesus Christ, compassion was not a feeling; it was a commitment, a sacrificial love, denying Himself in order to get involved with hurting people. Real compassion moves from feeling to action.

As the church, not the building but the believers, is the Body of Christ, we are to live, love, and lead like Jesus Christ. We are to intentionally exemplify compassion. And as we make Christlike disciples in the nations, compassion is not an option but rather the lifestyle of every believer. It should be our heartbeat and our DNA of being disciples of Christ.


Taken from the latest issue of NCM Magazine. Read online here.