Philippians 1:8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
I have been impressed with the word "compassion" recently. It seems to capture a core characteristic of what it means to be a Christian. Compassion is a word that comes from two words. "Com" means "together". And "Passion", in its ancient meaning, means "to suffer". So, to have compassion is to suffer together with others who are already suffering. It means to willingly share their suffering when you don't have to. It suggests that you will help bear this load on a voluntary basis. This isn't logical...to choose to suffer when you don't have to. It puts the priority on the pain of others over the pleasures of self. But it seems to capture the essence of Christ, and of God's mission to man over the generations. Christ's suffering was on our behalf, when He didn't deserve to suffer. God's plan to redeem mankind and restore His Creation caused Him to send His Son on a mission of compassion. And now He sends us...we who have placed our trust in Him...to be compassionate toward others.