Have you ever heard the phrase, “There is nothing new under the sun?” A quote from King Solomon himself in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” It is particularly true when it comes to fighting cultural differences. Jesus found himself in the middle of cultural war during His own life. He felt racial tension, political division, religious discord, and persecution. Rather than picking sides in this earthly realm, he chooses God the Father’s side and point of view – He chooses compassion!
Repeatedly in the gospels, you read the phrase, “He was moved with compassion for them.” A story in the gospel of Mark stands out. It’s the story of Jesus meeting the leper that asked to be healed.
Mark 1:40-42, “Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” (NKJV).
Leprosy was the original “cancel culture.” People with leprosy were shunned in a very public way. Making it worse, they were not allowed to contact anyone for fear the disease would spread. When face to face with the leper, Jesus wasn’t afraid of possible cultural and religious consequences. Nor was his actions motivated by
human perspectives; he looked at situations from God’s perspective and was compelled by God’s compassion. Jesus reached out His hand to touch and heal the leper.
This is Jesus. He was willing to risk the awkwardness to help those in need. He was willing to break social norms to show the depth of love and hope a life in Christ offers. In compassion, Jesus moved past all taboos created by people; he didn’t have to touch the leper to heal him. I believe he touched the leper to show us that compassion doesn’t run away from others. Compassion reaches out to touch what others would avoid.
Colossians 3:12, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (NIV)
Compassion is our best bet if we want to declare a cease-fire on the cultural wars happening around us. You can’t show compassion from a distance. Let’s choose to follow Jesus’ example of compassion, reaching out to initiate love in places and situations we may be tempted to avoid.