Emulating the Compassion of Christ
By a PETA staffer
“He saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them ….” Matthew 14:14
As Christians, we often reflect on the limitless compassion of Jesus and seek to emulate it. His tenderness and love are always on full display throughout the Gospels. In Matthew 14:14, he is moved to cure the sick; in Mark 6:34, his compassion leads him to teach; and in Luke 7:13, he consoles a widow. Compassion is at the heart of Jesus’ message and determined how he lived. Jesus’ compassion wasn’t just sideline empathy—it transformed into action. These truly beautiful examples of compassion offer us a model for how we, too, can turn our compassion into action and respond to the needs of all God’s creation. Like Christ, we need to act on behalf of others: We have no choice but to follow our hearts. Mere pity doesn’t help animals, and compassion without action changes nothing.
God entrusted us with caring for His creation, including animals. We are called upon to make a difference for them in our own homes and communities, and every day presents us with opportunities to do this, starting with the choices we make about what’s on our plates. Going vegan is the best thing you can do for God’s animals, who deserve to live in peace. With the message of Jesus in our hearts, we can pray for the fortitude to carry out work that makes their lives better.
Jesus healed the sick, and we can emulate his tender care by helping animals in distress. We do this when we tend to an injured animal, call the proper authorities to rescue an animal in danger, report cruelty or neglect at a roadside zoo, protest against keeping animals in captivity, lobby for better animal welfare laws, or simply give animals our time and love. When we see an animal in need, our actions matter. Just as Jesus didn’t turn anyone away, neither should we.
Jesus is the greatest teacher of all, and we can all follow in his footsteps by helping those around us understand that animals are not ours to use in any way. Although much of society wrongly views them as mere commodities, each one of them is an individual sentient being, just as each one of us is. They experience pain, suffering, joy, and fear, just as we do. As God’s creations, they have the right to be respected and live in peace. With this in mind, we can pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in speaking out against and dispelling speciesism, the misguided belief that one species is more important than another. Setting examples within our own families and communities can go a long way toward helping to end human supremacy. Educators can visit TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, for free resources that bring compassion into the classroom.
The Gospels abound with stories of Jesus helping others through miraculous actions. Each of us also has God-given gifts that we can use to benefit animals. Everything we do affects our brethren, be they big or small, so let’s do whatever we can to help them. How will you turn your compassion into action? The possibilities are endless: Go vegan (which is the best way to benefit animals, the planet, and human health); don’t buy items made of leather, silk, or anything else taken from animals; volunteer at animal shelters and humane societies; write letters to the editor about animal issues and to your representatives at all levels of government in support of animal-friendly legislation; report animal abuse; protest against cruelty to animals; or distribute animal rights literature. With Jesus as our guide, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.
Trust in the Lord to show you how to use your gifts. Pray for the courage to speak up when you see cruelty to animals in any form. Pray for the strength to continue advocating for animals even as your heart is breaking due to the suffering they endure. Emulate Jesus: Be moved to turn your compassion into action.