Although Jesus had compassion for hurting people, He never merely felt sorry for them. And whenever possible he helped them help themselves. He instructed them to take some particular action, and frequently His instructions were shocking.
For instance, He told a crippled man to rise, take up his bed, and go home (see Matthew 9:6). He told a man who had just received a report that his daughter was dead not to be afraid (see Mark 5:35-36). When Jesus saw a blind man, He spat on the ground, made some mud by mixing dirt with it, and then rubbed it on the blind man's eyes. He then instructed the man to walk to the Pool of Siloam and wash himself in it. When the man did as Jesus had commanded, he was able to see (see John 9:1-7).
We see that Jesus often told people to do things that were not only surprising but seemingly impossible. How could a crippled man rise, take up his bed, and walk? After all, he was a cripple. How could a man who had just received a report of his daughter's death be expected not to fear? How could a blind man see to get to a certain pool of water when he was blind?
Instead of merely feeling sorry for these people, Jesus moved them to action. He helped them get their minds off of themselves and their problems, and He motivated them to do something about them. Jesus was moved with pity (see Matthew 9:36). He was moved to do something besides enable people to stay the way they were.
At times we feel we are being mean if we confront people who have problems, when in reality "tough love" is what Jesus often used to set people free.
Prayer Starter: Father, help me to love people well. Give me the wisdom to know when and how to help people take action so they can experience greater freedom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.