Compassion – what an easy concept, what a difficult thing to practice.
I read a book a short while ago that discussed the concept of seemingly repeating coincidences turning out to have deep meaning and/or importance. These coincidences can be anything from thoughts, to words, to subjects we here in discussions/speeches, to things we see frequently, or people we see regularly. For all the years that I have been a follower of Christ, I have been told that God speaks to us and I just need to listen. I have tried SO HARD but was just not getting it. Maybe He didn’t have anything to say to me? I hope not, I need Him so badly! When I read this it finally struck me. While I never expected a booming voice from Heaven, I was still not REALLY listening. For the first time, I think I understand. I started trying to be VERY observant to the small coincidences – it did not take long. Within a very short period of time, I noticed the first pattern – COMPASSION. I was reading a book and compassion came up, the speaker at church services a few weeks ago mentioned compassion, my Bible study group ran into a verse about compassion, I was at a men’s fellowship event and the speaker yet again mentioned compassion, and finally – the kicker – I was reading a book that mentioned a very sad event and immediately pointed out, “if you did not feel compassion for that person, you are probably dead”. I had not felt a thing. I was sick. I finally realized that I was numb, I had no feeling for my fellow man. Yes, some things struck a chord, particularly those of our service men and women and people that I know personally. However; most everything else just flies right on by me. Is this due to the constant barrage of bad/sad news that today’s 24 hour media pushes on us? I don’t know and it does not matter. Christ was compassionate:
Matthew 9:36 – “When he saw the crowds, He (Jesus) had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
We are told to show compassion:
Colossians 3:12-13 – “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I have become very careful with words from the Bible. Many of them have not been well translated and the meaning of the scripture is becoming watered down as a result. So, I looked up the words used in the original scripture. The word used in Matthew is “splagchnizomai” which means “to be moved in the inward parts”, “to take pity”, “to be moved with.” The word in Colossians is “oiktirmou” which means “sympathetic participation in grief”. Such sympathy or compassion stands ready to help the one who has suffered loss. So, the translation is good and our current understanding of compassion means what in meant in Biblical times.
Clearly, I have work to do (no surprise there).