Compassion

Some people pity those whose well-being is worse than theirs  – particularly those who are distressed, depressed, suffering or disabled in mind or body

“compassion” is a better word; Compassion is the emotion that we feel in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.

Compassion is often given a property of “depth,” “vigour,” or “passion.”

The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.”

More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.

The Dalai Lama has said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

St Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians describes God as the “Father of compassion” and the “God of all comfort.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

In  Jesus is the very essence of compassion and relational care. Christ challenges Christians to forsake their own desires and to act compassionately towards others, particularly those in need or distress.

Jesus assures his listeners in the Sermon on the Mount that, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan he holds up to his followers the ideal of compassionate conduct.

True Christian compassion, say the Gospels , should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one’s enemies.

8 Comments

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

8 responses to “Compassion

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