The simple answer is because God says so. That is it. It is that simple.
Jesus commands that I must love my neighbor as myself. This is the second most important command from God (the first being to love God). That love is translated into compassion.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus responded that it is to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. But He added that the second commandment “is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”.
The Pharisee had asked Him which single command of God is the greatest, but Jesus provided two, stating not only what we are to do, but also how to do it. To love our neighbor as ourselves is the natural result of our loving devotion toward God.
First John 3:17 asks,
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
Originally made in His image, man is to exemplify God’s traits, including compassion. From this it follows that “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). The Bible is clear that compassion is an attribute of God and of God’s people as well.
Here are some examples of compassion. There are so very many of them. The list would be very long to cite them all.
- Luke 10:33–35 — “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
- Job 29:12–17 —Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. “The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. “I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame. “I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. “I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth.
- Job 30:25 — “Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
- Proverbs 14:31 — 31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
- Acts 28:2 —The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.