I recently read through the book of Matthew and something stood out to me that I hadn’t noticed before. There are 4 times when Jesus looks at people and feels compassion for them (9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34). I was extremely challenged by this as I thought about it. Is that my natural response when I see people? Rarely. So I started praying that God would change my heart so that this would be true of me as well. And I haven’t had much luck with it being changed lately. So God gave me another opportunity on Friday night.
I was in my police chaplain role on a ride-along with an officer and it was a pretty slow night. The last call we had was catching two guys who had been caught trying to break into a car. As we debriefed them and searched through their things, I had a weird experience as I watched them sit on the curb. One guy was homeless and the other lived in a halfway house. I felt something that I didn’t expect…compassion. I felt sorry for these guys in a way that kind of shocked me. Here were two guys, who were living lives that none of us would ever want and they had just made another mistake that would make things even worse for them.
It felt great. I knew none of the officers I was with had any sense of anything for these guys and thought they were lost causes. So my feelings were kind of odd. But I savored the moment knowing that God had answered a prayer. So maybe there is hope at last that God will make me more like Him. Here’s to feeling more compassionate.