What does it mean to be compassionate? How does this help us understand mercy?

The dictionary equates mercy with “compassion.” You have the prefix, “com,” which means together, and the word, “passion,” which implies the concept of strong feelings. So we might say that compassion involves our having strong feelings with another.

Compassion is not just feelings FOR someone: just saying, “I’m sorry.” It’s feeling WITH someone. It’s like stepping inside the skin of another to experience their circumstances and respond well on their behalf.

Why do you think feeling or hurting with someone is necessary to show proper mercy?

Matthew 20:30-34

30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.

When two blind men cried to Jesus, “Lord, have mercy on us,” they were not asking Jesus to feel sorry for them. They wanted Him to look through their eyes and see what they saw. They wanted him to feel as they felt. They wanted him to help, and He did. That’s mercy!

God describes Himself as merciful. How does God hurt with us?

Exodus 34:6

6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”


Hebrews 4:15

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.


Philippians 2:4-8

4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Romans 8:26

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

It brings God joy when He “feels with us” and shows us mercy. How can this comfort us when we are hurting? How would you suggest we respond to His mercy?

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.