“We must learn to regard people for what they endure, and less in the light of what they do or neglect to do.” – Deborah Choma
Compassion – you cannot express a deeper emotion. It is also an element of Etiquette that I teach to many clueless individuals. Perhaps you are aware of someone; yourself, or a person comes to mind that exemplifies a lack of knowledge on being compassionate.
Is your life a good example of compassion?
Before I continue, no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
We take so many aspects of what we learned for granted. The reality is, that we now live in a society where the majority has never learned the ABC’s of sound character. Either the thread of influence has diminished in the home or the interest has demised to a shift in our focus.
“Me-ism” poses a huge threat to breaking down the walls of a humanistic methodology that has leeched into our Christian circles.
Our own life has the potential to affect another life for good or bad. We influence others by our behavior more than we influence through our words. The example must be set for others to see how good we are, not hear how good we are.
One way to influence others is through our kind words and gestures. Writing a card of encouragement, thank you, or condolences, creates an occasion or a moment for transferring tangible compassion.
Have you ever felt a level of gut wrenching emotion for another human being?
When I decided to write on compassion, this verse came to mind - “And some have compassion, making a difference”: Jude 1:22
If you wish to make a difference, a distinct and refined difference, then preface your compassion with love. What do I mean? The verse that precedes Jude 1:22, enlightens us to the backbone of real Christianity.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 1:21
It is impossible to have compassion, making a difference, without the fruit of the Spirit in your life propitiating the love of God in someone else’s life.
The Oxford Dictionary defines compassion as, sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. In understanding compassion, we must educate ourselves on the Greek translation: to be compassionate by word and deed and to show mercy.
The Etiquette of Compassion:
Firstly, we must remember to approach people with feelings appropriate to their condition. Adapt yourself wisely to the character and to their circumstance. If you want to make a difference, then make a distinction between individuals. The young, the tender, the delicate, the refined, need different handling to the rough, uncultivated, and the hardened.
Treat people gently and kindly. We commend others to the power of God through our language [words] and our actions [deeds].
Do not be a bull in a china shop. Consider the person you approach.
One example of how we should vary our approach toward others when we wish to demonstrate compassion in a practical sense is during the death of a loved one. Whilst Heaven is our hope, saying to someone who is grieving deeply, “He/she is in Heaven,” may not be the best approach. Yes, it is indeed fact. However, their present pain trumps the eternal gain you expect them to embrace during the onslaught of grieving.
A grieving person does not need fact. They need compassion that will make a real difference in their saddened world. Be tender toward the feelings of others and do not just blurt out what you think would comfort them. Be considerate!
When our son was four, he ran inside with tears streaming down his face, holding his knee. Limping toward me in the kitchen, he said, “Mama, I hurt myself.” I did not stand with my hands on my hips and shake my finger at him saying, “I told you not to run outside!” [Fact]
As I knelt down, I lifted my apron and wiped his tears away, followed by listening to his sad story and looking at his “owie.” I took time to listen and comfort him. Then I said, “I’m sorry, sweetheart. That must have hurt!” I acknowledged his pain, which met his need for comfort and this kind of compassion made a real difference.
The closer we get to God the greater our propensity is to show compassion.
One does not simply arrive at the pit stop of compassion and remain forevermore. Empathy is a Christian characteristic honed for a lifetime.
How do we keep ourselves in the love of God?
Think of it this way…someone we are not interested in does not keep our attention.
We learn God’s love by what we read and hear of His love in the Scriptures. We then pray for God to show us His love throughout our day. Nothing provides a greater example of love than the cross.
The more love-conscious we grow, the greater our capacity is to show others His love. This guarantees us to, “…have compassion, making a difference.”
Provide comfort for hurting souls. In showing compassion after the death of a loved one, Heaven is always comforting. Yet we must remember to blanket their hurt with lots and lots of deep care and concern. Take time to listen and pace your responses.
Consider praying prior to approaching others who are grieving or hurting. God will empower you with His wisdom. He is eloquent in His words and extraordinary in His ways. Make Him center stage, not your motives for doing well.
How we align ourselves vertically through our relationship with God is how He will align us horizontally in our relationships with others.
Until next time...