The operational definition of compassion is “investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others.” When you see someone in pain, can you imagine how they are feeling, especially if something similar has happened to you? As you empathize with them, you not only see but also feel their sorrow. Who do you know that is hurting? How could you help ease someone else’s pain? You may see that your mom is tired and would appreciate help with preparing dinner. Your brother may have cut his finger and needs a Band-Aid. Your friend may have lost a loved one and would be comforted by receiving a sympathy card. Put yourself in the place of others. What if you were tired, or you cut your finger, or one of your loved ones had passed away? What would you desire others do to comfort you? Look beyond yourself and consider how someone else is feeling. Being moved to help ease their pain is compassion. Is your heart tender to notice those in need, and are you then willing to give whatever it takes to bring healing?
The opposite of compassion is indifference. Indifference is exhibited when you are unconcerned and not stirred by the suffering of others. If you do not care enough to want to help in some way, examine your heart and ask the Lord to give you His love for others. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (I John 3:17). As you experience the depth of God’s mercy in your own life, your love for Him will grow, as will your desire to share His love with others through compassionate words and actions.
- When you hear of someone else’s suffering, do you imagine yourself in his place and try to understand how he may feel?
- Do you seek the Lord’s leading in relieving the hurts of those around you?
- Do you regularly pray for those who are ill, suffering, bereaved, or persecuted?
- When a neighbor has a need, do you offer to help, while secretly hoping he will not call? Or do you sincerely ask, “How can I help you?”
- What resources or skills do you have that could help meet someone else’s need?
- How does your family speak up for the unborn, the elderly, or the otherwise helpless?
- Who was the last person that requested your help, and how did you respond?
- What are ways you can show compassion to a family grieving over a lost loved one?
- Is there someone with recurring problems whom you find yourself avoiding? How can you help that person find a long-term solution?
More About Compassion
God enables me to:
Know the extent of His mercy.
Intercede on behalf of the hurting.
Be ready to help.
Comfort others without prejudice.
Look for lasting solutions.
Give of my resources to help those in need.
Feel others’ pain.
Be an advocate for the helpless.
Compassion in Scripture
A Traveler Provides for a Helpless Stranger
Revealed in Nature
Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum
View the Compassion booklet sample:
Free Resources for Compassion
Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!