Compassion is a quality we recognize in others but are hard put to explain. It is more than sympathy (literally, feeling with), it is actually suffering with another. It is just as well that compassion comes as a gift, because I don’t think any of us would be brave enough to ask for it if we really thought what it means. There’s nothing warm and cuddly about compassion, although when we are on the receiving end, we do feel bundled up in love and warmth. Why not spend a few minutes today thinking about the occasions when you’ve experienced compassion from others and give thanks for them. Grace grows in proportion to gratitude, we are told. We might even become compassionate ourselves.


7 thoughts on “Compassion”

  1. I have been a professional nurse, and midwife since 1977. Compassion is emotionally expansive and draining. It means going that extra mile when you do not think you can do it.
    There is a reward…. and just been on the receiving end of other people’s care is humbling also.
    The ultimate sacrifice of compassion still remains the cross, that the perfect should take on the imperfect world, with cruel nails and suffer to death, so we can ‘be’.
    Once we accept that there is peace.

  2. I like the concept of the ‘Wounded Healer’

    Put simply the Wounded Healer’s own wounds and pain form the foundation of empathy with another’s wounds and pain. Who better to understand than a person who can draw from their own frame of reference.

    The more I learn and understand of the concept of the Wounded Healer, the more I see Christ. He didn’t shout pithy soundbites from the sidelines. He didn’t offer us external solutions to internal problems. He waded into the very midst of our suffering and suffered with us. He was wounded for us, and with us, so that he could fully empathise with us.

    And empathy is the key to compassion and healing. Knowing you’re not alone and that somebody has been there before you and although scarred, has lived to tell the tale. Knowing our faltering efforts to articulate the hidden depths of pain and brokenness is fully comprehended by Jesus – and others – is part of what is restoring my own faith.

    Answers and solutions are all well and good, but there is no soothing balm quite like talking to somebody who understands through their own experience.

    And that to me is compassion.

  3. I suspect that our gratitude for the compassion of others is something we don’t express and gives thanks for enough.

    Small things just a touch, a kind word or a hug can express so much, without overwhelming those receiving that gift. As Stuart has pointed out, Empathy goes alongside it as does humility.

    Not sure I like to hear people boasting about how compassionate they’ve been helping the wounded, Jesus said that good works secretly and of more value in the Kingdom than broadcasting them to the world

    I know that compassion can be exhausting and draining, and I was very surprised that I was unable to sustain it without the grace of Christ to support me, this was one of the things that brought me back to Christianity.

  4. Wise words from all above, including the original entry.

    One thing that strikes me is at if the word passion were more widely understood for it’s true meaning of suffering, then a wider percentage of the world would have a better chance of understanding what compassion is. But even highly intelligent and indeed, educated, people sometimes are unaware – I have a friend with her Masters in English Lit and Language, and I recently had to point out to her the fact that “passion” meant “suffering”.

    Having been on the receiving end of compassion on various occasions, from various sources, I am so grateful to God for that mercy He has shown me through other people – but I make sure to express my gratitude to the human givers of compassion too, and to try and do something in return for them.

    If compassion is a gift, then we must earnest beg of God the strength to use it, and use it well.

  5. I was in hospital recently and spent a night in intensive care after surgery. The nurse who cared for me that night showed truly great loving kindness and compassion. I thanked her boss for her work and thank God for her and her willingness to give so much to those relying on her help.

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