Have you ever had a stirring in your gut? A feeling that you should do something without really understanding why? In the Greek language, the word that we interpret as compassion gives us the image of ‘being moved in the inward parts’ (Strong’s Concordance). For example, one of the most beloved parables of Jesus is the story of the Prodigal Sons (Yes, both in their own right become a prodigal—one who goes away and the other who stays but misses the larger blessing he always had).

Read Luke 15:11-32. In this profound teaching, we can see the picture unfolding—sibling rivalry, a selfish son who wants to party, a father who is brokenhearted while holding the other close. Would the father daily look to the horizon in the hope that the silhouette of his lost son might appear? Would he close every day with a simple prayer, “Bring him home, please!?” Would he gaze at his other son with admiration and thanksgiving that he was still at home?

As the father catches the glimpse of his wayward son, did he wonder if this was a dream? Were his prayers answered? As he sees his son coming toward him, was there a moment where he felt the movement of his inward parts? Certainly…he runs to him, arms flapping in the breeze and bear hugs this child. Tears must have streaked down his face as he holds close the son who has been missing.

Verse 20 states, he was moved with compassion. There was a leaping and turning within that led to a fullness of embrace! Perhaps you have a story like this where you received another’s compassion. Perhaps you have been the one who has shown compassion. Regardless, when compassion is shared, love erupts. The fullness of God is seen in that embrace—one marked by acceptance, welcome and grace. May we emulate that response to one another!