What is Compassion?

I’ve always considered myself a compassionate person. I could “feel” with people and I would sympathize with people. However, after reading the book Compassion for one of my classes my eyes have been opened to what it really means.

Compassion literally means to “suffer with”. It doesn’t mean to “bend toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; and it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull.”

I think I’ve spent a lot of my life like this; something always made me pull away and not get close enough. I would be sad and get angry by the girls situations at Baby Girls Club or by hearing a homeless man’s story but honestly a part of me always kept distance and thought “I just feel so bad for them.”

But not anymore…I think I’ve said before be careful what you pray for…I prayed that God would help me show true compassion and would break my heart for what breaks his…

Today at Baby Girl’s I heard a girls story. She’s 15, her mom is 28. She’s the oldest of 8 kids. She’s basically their mom. She was a product of her mother being raped at 13. I can’t just hear that anymore and say I’m sorry that’s too bad…because I know I’m called to more. I want to get to know her more and hear more about her and let her know someone is suffering with her. I can’t live or love just reaching down anymore.

“Compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there. God’s compassion is total, absolute, unconditional, without reservation. It is the compassion of the one who keeps going to the most forgotten corners of the world, and who cannot rest as long as there are still human beings with tears in their eyes. It is the compassion of a God who does not merely act as a servant, but who expresses the divinity of God through servanthood.”


One thought on “What is Compassion?

  1. “I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is to show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness… can be life giving, because often everyone else is in hiding.”anne lamott

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