According to Webster’s dictionary, compassion is defined as such:
sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
In the greek, when Jesus was moved with compassion towards the people, the picture is a deep moving, as in the bowels. We must remember that Jesus though didn’t relate to the people in the sense of going wayward from the Father. But because He was the exact expressed image of the Father, He carried the deep heart of compassion for all(whether he had a relatable experience or not to what they were going through).
When it comes to homosexuality, it’s easy to have the subconscious mindset that that’s “their” problem…until a situation hits home and now becomes more personal. Even when this isn’t the case however, homosexuality isn’t just a problem for those that struggle with same-sex attractions, but one for the church as a body. Scripture demonstrates that when one member suffers or hurts, we all suffer. I think that if the Church body as a whole took time to walk with others that struggle in this way, to understand, and to actively love in practical ways, that the heart of compassion would be birthed in a community tangibly. It is one thing to be able to debate and theologically explain about this topic to someone that struggles…but it’s entirely different to be able to give room for pain in the journey to surface and to give support to an individual along the way. This is a human issue, not just a theological one.
Andrew Goddard makes a point that “if we are to have a Christian discussion, those of us for whom the ‘issues’ are not directly personal(the overwhelming majority)must take time to get to know gay Christians.” For this reason, all of us need to understand the issues and engage with those actually struggling. The more that we become community-minded and do this, I believe the increase of freedom, joy, and other fruits of the Spirit will be manifest. Here are some things that are helpful to remember along the way as you try to begin doing this:
- The Gospel shows us that all have fallen short of God’s glory- this means that no sin should be more shocking or disgusting than another. We all have a chance and can be washed and receive Christ’s righteousness, no matter your struggle.
- If you struggle with your sexuality, God doesn’t look down on you but has much compassion. He also knows all the complexities of an individual’s sexuality.
- God is a healing God! But it doesn’t look the same for all nor is promised to be experienced in fullness while here on earth. Even still, God is committed to the process.
- In the same way, we must be prepared for the long haul. How we relate has been a life-long learning process, so breaking any unhealthy pattern probably won’t occur overnight.
- Be patient with one another: the struggler will find it difficult to keep a continuous victorious perspective. The friend will need to fight thoughts of “not again!” or “why can’t they just stop doing that or just end that relationship?”
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
So let’s do this all together, with compassion…because this is YOUR problem too.