I've lived my whole life thinking that compassion was the sad feeling you get in your heart when someone is suffering, when your very soul cracks a little at the hardships of another. Ah, what a caring soul you are, to feel so deeply the heartaches not your own.
Honestly though, that's just barely scratching the surface of what compassion actually is.
The kind of compassion I described, the sad feeling, that's not even compassion, it's a sad feeling. Anyone can have a sad feeling. Sad feelings are a dime a dozen. But sad feelings don't get things done. Compassion does.
Compassion is a verb. The dictionary doesn't know this. But the dictionary also doesn't know that love is a verb as well. To the dictionary these are nouns. Flat, basic, things. But a verb is movement. Action. Just as much as love is not love without action, compassion is not compassion without action.
Compassion demands action. To have compassion is to be moved with compassion.
In the Bible, God is the first to show compassion. His people, those people that he loves, turned from Him (as we tend to do). As creator of their very lives He could have just wiped them out. He breathed life into man, He could very well breathe it right back out. But God had compassion on them and he showed them mercy.
And He continues to show mercy. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. The only reason you or I are breathing at this very moment is because God is filling our lungs with breathe. Your heart beats at God's command. That is compassion.
Jesus was a master of compassion. Compassion was his jam. And it was a standard he modeled for us to follow.
As a lover of people Jesus noticed things. He noticed brokenness whether it be an ailment or a heart matter. He would see a need, compassion would stir inside of him, and he would take action. He healed blindness, lameness, and disease. He cleansed people of demon possessions. He brought the dead back to life. That is compassion, my friend. That is getting something done.
God showed us compassion, Jesus modeled it in his life, and we are told to continue it.
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
I John 3:18
"And of some have compassion, making a difference." Jude 22
I have read Jude 22 before but I never got it till know. Make a difference. Allow your heart to be moved. And do something.
When you are moved with compassion, it is an opportunity to do something . It is an invitation to make a difference. Be so moved by compassion that you can't rest until something changes.
"By compassion we make others' misery our own, and so,
by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also."
-Thomas Brown Sr.
Anytime you are moved with compassion, pray that you will know how to be a blessing in that particular circumstance.
So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain.