Lesson 7 -- first quarter 2000
January 16, 2000
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications
Experiencing Compassion, Part I. In my book (and in yours, no doubt) compassion rates as a wonderful commodity. When we experience the compassion of others, we thrive and rejoice. We want compassion. We appreciate compassion. We wilt in the absence of compassion.
The visiting minister who put his arms around me in the midst of my deep, crushing grief was showing compassion. The local ministers who put their financial resources under me to bear me up were showing compassion.
You have had your own times of receiving compassion. Were you aware of it? I'm sure you were. But it seems that we so easily miss some of those expressions of compassion, and our benefactor goes unthanked. Let's be more attuned!
I must admit, though, that occasions come my way when I find it difficult to appreciate the compassion others show me. Oh, don't misunderstand; I don't resent the compassion. It's just that, well, my pride and self-sufficiency get in the way. May God help me!
Even so, I testify freely that compassion has worked in my heart a closer "feeling" of kinship with the one who has so blessed and encouraged me. Being on the receiving end like that gives me tangible evidence that So'n'so is indeed on the same side with me.
So, swallow your pride and bask in the compassion others direct your way. And be ye thankful!
Experiencing Compassion, Part II. The first part was about experiencing compassion by being on the receiving end. This part addresses the compassion experience of those who are on the giving end. The one part of the experience has no less blessing than the other!
By the way, just what is compassion anyway? When you see and feel sorry for the crying child in the church basement, is that compassion? Nope. Well, what if you heart just aches for that child, and its pain at the collision with the wall is almost literally yours, is that compassion? Closer. When all of the above is true, and when you take that child in your arms and soothe him (and treat the wound), and help him as best you can...because you love him and want to bless him, that's compassion. So compassion is more than just a feeling, it is a deed motivated by the need and interests of another.
In the previous paragraph you have not only the definition of compassion, but also its motivation and purpose. Compassion has nothing to do with what I, as the compassionate one, get out of it.
Can anyone be compassionate? Probably not. The Christian is the one best fitted for compassion. But I suspect anyone who has ever received and truly appreciated compassion is able to give it. The fact is, those who have received it have a debt to pay...by showing others compassion.
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