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Compassion for Friends

Compassion for Friends

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” — John 11:33-37

We know from earlier in the passage that Jesus intentionally delayed His coming for four days to prove He had power over death (John 11:1-17). Here we find Mary weeping because of her brother’s death, and the people believed Jesus also wept for Lazarus. But I believe Jesus wept for a different reason.

When believers pass away, they go to Heaven to be with God. We know the Bible teaches us they are in a better place. The loved ones left behind grieve, just like Mary did in today’s passage. But one of the reasons Jesus wept may have been because He knew He was about to bring Lazarus back to this earth to face death. If we truly believe our loved ones have gone to Heaven, although we may miss them, it would be selfish to want to bring them back.

The people questioned, “Since Jesus could give the blind sight, why didn’t He save His friend from dying?” But He came to give sight to blind sinners so He might raise us all from the dead as long as we believe in Him.

God, I pray You will help those who grieve for the loss of a loved one. Amen.

~Dr. Kevin C. Williams, First Baptist Church, Villa Rica, GA


Heart Transformation

“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” … Then the Spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity. — Ezekiel 11:19-20, Ezekiel 11:24

I served in the U.S. Army and trained against a certain enemy. I served during the first Gulf War and developed a hard heart toward the Muslim culture. While I knew governments caused the war, the war still affected how I viewed those people.

Recently, God saw fit to send me back to that region. I never thought God would send me to minister to the very people I once called my enemy. But I had a heart transformation. I found myself seeing them the way Jesus intended me to see them — with love and compassion. My heart turned from stone to flesh. I began to develop relationships with them, which allowed me to share the gospel. Many became believers.

God wants us to love the nations the way He does. We are to have a heart of compassion toward our enemies. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44). I now understand how to do that.

God, please transform my heart to be like Yours and help me to see people the way You see them. Amen.

~Dr. Kevin C. Williams, First Baptist Church, Villa Rica, GA

Excerpted with permission from The Spirit Within You, copyright Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

Jesus is infinitely compassionate. He is love and His love embraces us in every situation we face, every day, every moment. He is chipping off the hard places of our hearts and transforming us into people of compassion just like Him. Can you feel it happening? Do you sense your feelings about people you used to hate or judge changing? Come share with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily