Everyone Needs Compassion
Everyone needs compassion, but what is it? How would you define it? Carol Harrison points out that Jesus was known for showing compassion to others.
What is Compassion?
Compassion is a puzzle piece of life that everyone needs. But what is compassion? We talk about it, we need to show it and we think we have a good idea of what it should be but do we really get it?
I have been reading a few different novels over the last little while and one verse kept reoccurring in it. Then I went to a writers’ conference and this same verse came up when we sang the old hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness. The words to the verse and the song have been running through my mind ever since.
The Lord’s Great Love
The verse is Lamentations3:22, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed His compassions are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” This message has shown up in my life in a few places and different times which means I need to pay attention to it and share it with others.
In Matthew 9:36 it says “When he (Jesus) saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.”
The crowds around Jesus were harassed. Do you ever feel that way? I know I do and often helpless at trying to organize the puzzle pieces of my life. Jesus had compassion on them. God’s compassions are because of his great love for us and are new and fresh every morning.
I have been thinking a lot about this amazing compassion and reading how we, as followers of Jesus, are to treat others with compassion. Colossians 3: 12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Ephesians 4: 32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Showing Compassion is Being Sympathetic
Compassion is defined as being sympathetic, pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. So what can or should this look like in our lives. How does this puzzle piece fit?
Jesus showed compassion in many ways to the crowds and to individuals. He touched the untouchable lepers, the blind, and the outcasts. He visited with and ate at the house of tax collectors and healed, helped and taught everyone who came to him in faith. Compassion is a positive emotion which is carried out by kind actions.
A Biblical definition of compassion is to recognize suffering of others and take action to help. The Latin of the word compassion means to suffer with. That added a whole new level of meaning for me. We suffer with someone else, feeling their pain but then acting on it to do something to help them.
Compassion is linked in the verses with kindness which involves action and not just words. The actions will vary with each person and the needs we see. It might be something small like a card, a meal delivered, a ride or a listening ear. At other times showing compassion might be over a longer period of time as you walk alongside someone who is going through a difficult time in their life.
A Compassionate Act
One time when I broke my knee a young lady came to visit me. We did not see each other very often but always connected well. When she heard about my struggles with crutches in our icy Saskatchewan winter which kept me housebound, she showed up to spend some time with me. We talked, laughed and enjoyed a couple hours of visiting. Then she asked me if I had any cream or lotion. I sent her to the washroom to find some thinking she just wanted to relieve her cracked hands from the cold. But she returned to the living room and began to massage my feet. It felt strange to have her do this act of service but also her action showed her compassion. I had not been able to look after my feet for almost six weeks so this felt wonderful.
American author, motivational speaker and professor in the Department of Special Education at University of Southern California, Leo Buscaglia, said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest at of care, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
All We Need
Sometimes all we need in the middle of figuring out those challenging puzzle pieces of life are a touch, a hug, a listening ear and kind words. At other times our needs are greater.
How can we show kindness and compassion this week, this month, and this year even as we remember God’s great faithfulness?
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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