A Look At Compassion

There was time when I thought the word “compassion” had to do with self-giving and the outpouring of one’s spirit. However, when I looked the word up in the dictionary, I discovered that compassion is not so much an outpouring, as it is a “strong desire to alleviate the suffering” of an individual or individuals.

To be a person of compassion, is to become conscious of another person’s distress, to become sympathetically conscious. To literally “be affected with the same feeling as another” (see source).

To the highest degree possible, we must see and feel the sufferings of the distressed person from the inside — not just through our own needs and beliefs, but through the other individual’s own body or eyes.This is exactly what the Hebrew writer was trying to get the church to accomplish in Hebrews 13:3, when he stated: “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, and those who are mistreated, since you yourselves are in the body also.” They were to identify with the imprisoned and ill-treated, remembering that they too might be subject to the same mistreatment as the above prisoners were undergoing (cf. Hebrews 10:32-34). Demonstrating compassion is always a critically important response to suffering, and is the first step toward healing.

Beloved, many folks in our world today are hurting mentally, physically, and spiritually. As Christians, we can’t possibly do everything to eliminate their pain, but we can do some things (cf. Mark 14:8). We need to be open, sensitive, and aware of the needs of people around us as our Lord was (cf. Matthew 9:36; Matthew 14:14; Matthew 15:32; Matthew 18:27; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:41; Mark 6:34; Mark 8:1-2; Luke 7:13; Luke 10:33; Luke 15:20).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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