Open Your Ears and Sympathize
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT, second edition).
Jesus gives us a great model for demonstrating mercy in the story of the Good Samaritan. We can draw out at least four steps toward showing mercy from the Good Samaritan’s actions. We've learned that we must see other people’s needs.
But we can’t stop there. We must also sympathize with people’s pain. The Bible says in Luke 10:33 says that when the Samaritan saw the wounded man, he had compassion on him.
You see pain with your eyes, but you sympathize with your ears. Sometimes, the greatest way to serve someone is just by listening. Behind every need is a story. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest saw the man and his obvious need, but he had no clue about this man’s journey. He could have assumed that the man brought this trouble on himself or that he shouldn’t have been so careless. He could have thought up all kinds of stories or excuses to not help the man in need, because he didn’t stop long enough to discover the truth.
But the Bible says in Galatians 6:2,“Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law” (MSG). What is Christ’s law? Love God and love your neighbor.
You may have never thought about this, but God has allowed certain struggles in your life so you can sympathize with and serve the people around you. The Bible says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT, second edition).
Think of those times in your life when the Lord has comforted you. To whom can you pass on that blessing?
Talk It Over
-- How do you think God can use your struggles to help someone else?
-- What does it mean to share one another’s burdens?
-- How do you serve others when you listen? Why might this practice be considered countercultural today?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.