top of page


President Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” There are variations to this quote, but as we look at what is before us, these words carry with them a lot of truth.

We are only a month away from Thanksgiving and a couple of months from Christmas. The holidays bring various reactions from people – gladness, stress, tensions, excitement. Emotions can be all over the board.

It also is a good time to be reminded that we all probably have some things to be thankful for. People who have shown us kindness. An unexpected gift. The list could be long.

It is also a time to think about what we can do to help others. We want to take a look at what it means to be merciful, to show kindness and compassion to people that we encounter on life’s journey.

Let us begin by making an observation or two before we go any further. In our world today, there seems to be this thought that if you have a differing opinion with someone regarding a topic or belief, that you should either be silent, as you are being, as some say, intolerant for voicing contrary opinions.

In fact, the problem has been a misidentifying of what tolerance is. Originally the word was not seen as negative, which is how it is viewed today. The idea behind the word was that people could have a discussion, and though holding different points of view on something, could agree to disagree without all the name calling, etc., that we see today in our world.

What we currently see in our culture is that there is no place for healthy conversations over issues people do not see eye to eye on, because someone may be labeled a certain way for holding to completely different values. The expectation is that, and I have seen this, that we are to be silent and stay in our corner of the room, whichever corner that is.

The Christian community, when it comes to certain things, in all honesty, has been misrepresented by many in our culture. That is not to say that all Christians act as they should, but to basically tell followers of Jesus to keep their opinions to themselves because they go against the mainstream, is, well, showing intolerance, the very thing Christians are sometimes accused of.

For myself, as a pastor and a Christian, I have discovered that this is a fallacious argument. To say that I cannot be kind and gracious in word and deed to someone who I may totally disagree with has nothing to do with being compassionate and caring. I have friends who hold contrary views to myself and we get along fine. My hope is that people would understand that it is possible to disagree and still be civil.

Now back to President Roosevelt’s words and to the gist of my sharing. If there was anyone who modeled compassion, mercy, and grace, and yet did not agree with all the beliefs of the day, it was Jesus.

In fact, in what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus gave an outline of what His followers would hopefully become over time, in word and deed. This does not mean that Christians are perfect, but most that I know are trying to live, with God’s help, a life that reflects Jesus.

That message Christ gave on the hillside does not cover every area of life, but chapters 5-7 of Matthew give us many things to consider. In fact, the words of Jesus are very practical, if we are willing to listen to what He says.

In Matthew 5:7, a part of his teaching, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful.” What does it mean to be “merciful?” The word itself carries the idea of having pity on someone and showing compassion to others.

Jesus lived out what He taught others to do. Jesus healed the blind in Matthew 9:27. He healed those that were struggling with the dreaded disease of leprosy (Luke 17:13). He fed those who were hungry. More than that, He shared the message of eternal life with people because He was concerned for their spiritual well-being. There is no doubt – Jesus modeled for others compassion and mercy.

Much of what He did and taught was so that people could see God in the flesh. Jesus, though, was not afraid to speak the truth or challenge the status quo. In His day, the religious establishment did not take kindly to what He was doing and teaching. He was “bad for their business” we could say. He was not afraid to confront them…and yet He also showed compassion and mercy to them.

Again, the idea that we cannot be kind and merciful and hold to a different view than someone else is simply fallacious.

A few other things to consider. Jesus would use stories to teach spiritual truths. One of the most recognized ones is known as “The Good Samaritan.” Found in Luke 10:25-37, it is a story of someone showing mercy and kindness. The key figure, a man from the ancient area of Samaria, is traveling and comes across someone who has been injured.

Instead of ignoring the man’s pain, the Samaritan took the initiative to help this man. You see, mercy is more than simply being emotionally moved by a situation. Compassion, kindness, and mercy, in their strongest form, is not only seeing a need, but if possible, doing something to help that person.

It may be giving someone a meal. If they are struggling with some issue in their life, it might be giving them some help and helping them to find the help they need. The possibilities are endless.

And since we are coming to the holiday season, let me take a moment and say that I am thankful that God has shown compassion and kindness to me. All those reading this who know Christ as Lord and Savior can relate and understand.

You see, God showed the ultimate act of mercy and kindness when Jesus came to earth. Christ left heaven, took up residence on this planet, lived and taught for over thirty years, and was very clear in why He came when He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life for many.”

If you are reading this and have never considered Who Jesus is and what He offers, I would encourage you to objectively consider the Christian faith.

For those who do know Christ, stand for truth, but balance it with compassion and mercy. It can be challenging, but it is worth it. God bless.


bottom of page