Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body– Hebrews 13:3
What a selfless, sacrificial, thoughtful command to service! It is not enough, the writer of Hebrews clearly implies, to merely pity the poor or to pray for the persecuted. We must do more than this: we must minister to our brothers and sisters as we would ourselves wish to be ministered to.
When you see another Christian going through financial struggles, do you consider their need from afar or do you empathize with the stress and pressure and uncertainty with which they are faced? When a brother or sister in Christ suffers sickness, do you minister to them as you would yourself wish to be helped?
Do you feel your brother or sister’s pains, sorrows, heartaches as though they are your own?
The Hebrew writer, it is evident, is here rewording and reapplying what Jesus described as the second commandment of all: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). This is no disinterested charity; this is Christ-centered, sacrificial, empathetic love.
Jesus Christ not only loved us enough to die in our place for our sins, but he continues—even in heaven—to be touched himself with the feelings and struggles of our infirmities and afflictions (Hebrews 4:14). If Christ would love us like that, should we not love one another in the same way?