Clothed with Compassion

By Pastor Royston Smith

During my college years, I had a part-time job as a security officer. At that time the ladies’ dormitory was plagued by a group of unknown and unwelcome men. So, security was stepped up and two male officers were strategically placed to ensure the safety of the ladies. One night there was a mighty uproar. The two security officers scampered up the stairs, one on either side of the dorm. At the same time two ladies were emerging from the top floor bathroom in their Edenic garments. Upon seeing the two men the ladies hid their faces. Can you imagine how mortified these ladies were? 

When the story was retold amongst the security team there were fits of laughter at the ladies’ expense. There was neither compassion nor concern for them. We thought it was funny. To be caught naked is one of the most embarrassing things any human being can face. Exposed and naked.

Genesis 3:9-10 ,“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”  Our first parents were caught out after siding with the devil and failing to follow God’s dictate. They were caught naked and were crippled by fear. Their natural response was to hide.   

  • Nakedness brings shame 
  • Nakedness brings embarrassment  
  • Nakedness brings vulnerability  

God showed compassion to our first parents. He made clothing and gave them a covering of grace.  The word compassion is from the prefix – “com” meaning with; whilst the word passion from the root word “passio” meaning to feel. So, passion describes an intense feeling.

Therefore, compassion is entering into the feeling of another. 

We are happy to exercise and offer compassion to someone who is in great pain or immense suffering. However, we struggle with the idea of having a sense of compassion for someone who is involved in a naked heinous sin. You ask, how can I be compassionate to a naked sinner? Yet, where else is compassion more needed? As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  

Honestly, at some point in our lives, we will do things that will anger others and disappoint God. Our sinful deeds will be exposed, and we will have to face the naked truth. Then, and there we would like to receive the gift of compassion.

Paul encouraged us in Galatians 6:1-3, Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” 

Compassion is showing empathy.

It frees us from suffering and releases us from guilt and fear. As we share love, care and empathy, pain is relieved. Nakedness is covered and shame is upcycled into peace and self-acceptance.  

Father God, please give us a heart of compassion and lead us to opportunities share your grace with those who need it most.