Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference.
He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution. This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. – Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
Luke 7:12-13 (NRSV)
As Jesus approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone. -Miller Williams
The human capacity to care for others isn’t something trivial or something to be taken for granted. Rather, it is something we should cherish. Compassion is a marvel of human nature, a precious inner resource, and the foundation of our well-being and the harmony of our societies. If we seek happiness for ourselves, we should practice compassion: and if we seek happiness for others, we should also practice compassion. – Dalai Lama
Compassion lies at the heart of the authentic Christ-following life. Any spiritual experience – whether it be one of solitude and silence, prayer and fasting, or worship and celebration – that does not result in a deeper concern for our suffering neighbors can hardly be called Christian. The critical test of relationship with the Holy One always involves the quality of our love for those around us. If our communion with God isolates us from the painful realities of our world, inoculates us into an excessive preoccupation with our own well-being, it must be considered suspect. If, on the other hand, it finds expression in greater compassion and a willingness to show care, then it passes the test for genuineness. – Trevor Hudson, A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion
Our times cry out for a mass movement of compassion. This urgent need coincides with the goal of the Christ-following life, for unless our faith makes us compassionate, it can hardly be called Christian. Following Jesus means moving out of our privatized, isolated, and self-enclosed worlds into a compassionate engagement with our suffering neighbor. As we open ourselves to the pilgrimage experience, … we journey from self-centeredness to compassion. May you and I become everyday pilgrims whom God can use to bring healing to our broken world.
– Trevor Hudson, A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion
Mark 6:34 (NRSV)
As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity. When your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion. –Stephen Levine
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. ~ Henry Drummond
When we focus on others, our world expands.
Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller,
and we increase our capacity for connection — or compassionate action.
– Daniel Goleman
Give yourself entirely to those around you.
Be generous with your blessings.
A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.
-Steve Maraboli, A Savior At the Grocery Store
Become as single-minded in compassion as others may be in fear, hate, violence or hard-heartedness. Grant love and blessing without regard either to people’s deserving or to your own fate. Love indiscriminately, and people will witness a truly world-changing power. It’s happened before. It can happen again. Even in your own town.
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Spread Love
May those without hope
take heart in you, O Christ.
May those with no home
find shade at your right hand.
May those near the end
May those at the last
At the foot of your cross, O Christ,
I come in prayer.
O Christ, be my help,
O Christ, be our hope.
For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.