Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review: Compassion

Compassion: Seeing with Jesus' Eyes. Joshua Mack. 2015. P&R Publishing. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Is this short booklet worth your time? Yes! It is short. I won't deny that. But these 48 pages are worth reading, worth reflecting on. The subject, of course, is compassion. But it isn't just compassion, it is compassion as defined or redefined by Jesus himself. (That is the book isn't about how the world sees compassion or defines it, but, how Christ himself defined it and commands it of us.)
Without compassion, no matter how right you are in what you are saying, you are wrong in how you are acting. 
Biblical compassion involves sacrificing yourself for the glory of God and the good of others. True compassion involves deliberately choosing to enter into another person's pain. It is bearing an actual burden that is not your own. It is worshipping God by denying yourself in real life, and it takes a whole lot of theological understanding to do that. 
 Love. Time and time again we are commanded to love. To love God. To love our Christian brothers and sisters. To love our neighbors. To love our enemies. To not love is not an option. The first half of the booklet focuses on compassion: what it is, what it looks like, why it's essential, etc. The second half of the booklet shows readers "Practical Steps Toward Showing Compassion." I'll share two of my favorites: "Learn to treat other people like people instead of like projects" and "Make sure you are speaking words that are biblically true in a manner that is biblically appropriate."

Love and truth go hand in hand. Mack writes, "It is impossible to love people without loving truth. Love without truth is no love at all. But it is equally impossible to disconnect a sincere love for truth from a deep love for people. We should not try to serve people without a love for God. We must not try to serve God without a love for people." His writing may be concise, but, it is thought-provoking, isn't it. Read it slowly enough, and there is plenty to absorb and digest!

Have you thought about how compassion relates to worship--or worship relates to compassion? I hadn't until reading this book. This insight--and others--is why I loved reading this "little" booklet.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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