Summary: Compassion is defined as: “Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

Linda Diane Thompson, an American songwriter/lyricist, former actress and beauty pageant winner once remarked: “Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience moulds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together. Luke 10:30-34 reminds us: Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

Compassion is defined as: “Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” It alludes to kindness within our hearts. It demonstrates a caring approach to sufferers. It conveys responsibility, but probably the most important factor of all is that it displays the love and keeping of God. Compassion can be considered as one of the highest forms of love. If we can't show compassion to those in need, then we are rejecting the plight of another and adopting a selfish attitude to life.

There are many stories related in the Bible of Jesus exhibiting compassion to others. Matthew 14:13-14 states: “Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” He asked. “Lord,” they answered, “We want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:30-34 reminds us: “As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out - the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

There was once a young boy of twelve whose name was James. He came from a Christian family and attended the local church regularly with his parents. In addition, he was also a valued member of the choir. The family owned an adorable dog called Ben, a golden retriever. James loved to take Ben for his daily walks in the local park, especially when the weather was nice. He wasn't quite so keen when the weather was inclement but would happily oblige his mother whenever she asked him, as she was often very busy. It was indeed a pleasure to be out in the open air, experiencing the awesome beauty of God's creation, especially when he was walking by the picturesque stream that ran through the center of the park. It gave him a real sense of inner serenity.

One day he was walking the dog after school when he saw another boy of a similar age sitting on a bench by himself weeping in anguish. Mark 6:34 reminds us: "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” Being a sensitive child, he wondered what was causing this emotional state in the boy and so approached him to ask what was wrong. He enquired: "You look distressed and unhappy, would you like to tell me what is wrong? It is a lovely day and the sun is shining, it shouldn’t be a day to shed tears." The young boy responded: "My grandmother has just passed away suddenly. She and I were very close and I will miss her greatly. She has always lived near and it was easy to visit her. She was constantly there for me and would happily spend the time to listen to any problems I had and advise me on the best way forward. I don't know what I will do without her. My parents love me, but they don’t really understand me. I find it difficult to talk to them. I feel so low and consider that I have no one left in the world that I can turn to in times of need. At the moment I don't care if I live or die." 1 John 3:17 states: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”

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