"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd". (Matthew 9:36)
The compassion Jesus exhibits here is a primary characteristic of God. Jesus came to earth and died and rose again because of the Father's love. In fact 1st John 4:6 tells us that God is love!
The outworking of love ought to be love. As Jesus had compassion so should we. Sometimes, unfortunately, we draw the wrong conclusions. Love is not an acceptance of human narcissism and self involvement. Love is not the setting of humanity on the throne. The outworking of this kind of love ought to be a heart that wants to love the Lord, even if the struggle to do that is imperfectly carried out.
The sheep need a shepherd to lead and guide them. Left to their own devices sheep will not last very long. The shepherd cares for the sheep and the sheep follow after him. Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me" (John 10:27). There lies the troublesome part. Jesus calls us to follow Him by faith. We sometimes fall down and get up and press on. But what about those who resolutely refuse to follow?
God won't make them. Universalists try to deal with this issue by proclaiming that it doesn't matter. Unfortunately, from any honest reading of scripture it does. Judgment for the unbeliever is very real. I think it comes back to love. Love ought to produce love, but what happens if it doesn't? God doesn't force anyone into relationship. If you don't want a relationship with Him He want make you. People get offended when believers talk about judgment, which I find interesting. God loves people so much, and yet, we want to wallow in our own narcissism and rejection of Him until it becomes inconvenient for us. Then we want a free pass.
My theory is this. If the love of God won't change us now it won't change us then. That kind of rebellion and hatred so permeates our being that even if the Lord were to give a free pass to those who rejected Him in this life that it would rear its ugly head again. He already had one rebellion in the heavens. He doesn't need another one.
As for us. That's why love matters. We need to love the lost and have compassion on them. Love motivated Jesus' earthly walk and ministry and ought to be the prime motivation for each of us every day. It will literally change how we live our lives. It will open doors to share the love of Jesus. As always, they won't always follow after Him, but some will.
There are people out there who will absolutely fall in love with Jesus because of you. Go out with eyes of compassion and let the Lord use you!