Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion lately.  And again God gives me things to read that relate to my thoughts.   For example in our weeky life group we are reading Max Lucado’s book “Outlive Your Life” and of course this week’s chapter was called “See the Need; Touch the Hurt”   In this chapter he wrote all about compassion. 

I’ve been struggling with what compassion really means and how I can have more compassion for others.   As I sat up with my sick little girl last night who for the very first time in her life was throwing up, I know I felt compassion for her.  But isn’t it easy to feel compassion for the ones you love?  But what about that homeless person standing on the street corner?  What about the pregnant teen down the street?  What about the tsunami victims in japan?  What about the men and women dying of aids in Africa?  What about their children who will or have been orphaned?  What about compassion for them?  I must admit, it’s a lot easier to gloss over or turn away from those you don’t know.   For those thousands of miles away? defines compassion as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.  But how do you show compassion?  By giving the homeless person something to eat or a warm coat?  By donating to relief aid for those rebuilding in japan and ministries that help those in Africa and other third world countries?   What about looking that pregnant teen in the eyes and saying everything is going to be okay?  Is there more we can do?

And how the heck do I teach my children to be compassionate?  I pray over them.  That the needs of other will be overwhelming to the point of action.   Already I’m seeing this kind of compassion in them.  I need to be a better example though.  

I googled "what compassion really means" just to see what I would come up with.  I came across a column called Dr Cecilia d'Felice's Step-by-Step Guide to Modern Life.  In it she writes:   

"Compassion, unlike pity, walks hand in hand with suffering. Compassion means acknowledging and understanding suffering, combined with the commitment to alleviate it. We could call it radical compassion: radical because it wants positively to influence the experience of suffering, to take care of it and therefore assuage as much hurt as possible."

Sounds like a good definition to me! 

Jewish Rabbi and Theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel, said, “A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair," 

I want to be that person.. I want my greatest passion to be compassion, my greatest strength; love and defiance of despair. 

Lord help me.

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