Compassion and Mercy

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Hebrews 13: 1-3 (NRSV)

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:9 (NIV)

Lollie Hofer is from Nebraska. Her twelve-year-old son, Mike, yelled for her to pull over in the parking lot. His voice was urgent. Tears formed as his voice broke at the sight of a homeless man holding a sign that read: "Will work for food." Mike rolled down the window, handed the man a bag of snacks and some change he had left over from a recent purchase. He then apologized to the man, explaining that was all he had to give him. The man thanked my son several times, and I could hear the emotion in his voice.

Once they were on their way again, Mike asked his mother if what he had done was okay. Okay? Lollie's mamma's heart was bursting with pride - and perhaps some remorse as well. She hadn't even noticed the man. To be honest, sometimes Lollie not only pretended that she didn't see persons on the side of the road but she would judge and condemn them without caring to know their story.

And yet, Jesus made it clear that his mission on earth was to those in need, those who were downtrodden or sick. He didn't look the other way. He didn't run from them. He ran toward them. We are called to be Christlike, full of compassion and mercy. It's not our place to judge, but it is our place to care.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to see others the way you see them, and may this perspective lead us to action, in Jesus' name, amen.

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