Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.Colossians 3:12b
Understands how another person feels
Cares for others in need
Shows concern through kind thoughts, words and actions
Gives one’s time, money and/or resources to others in need
Listens to and is patient with people in need
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
– Dalai Lama
Has limited concern for the welfare or feelings of others
Often believes that people have earned their difficulty or hard situation in life
Believes that people should deal with their own problems and not ask for or expect help from others
Self focused and concerned for one’s own well-being and not focused on the needs of others
Has a hard time understanding others or being able to comprehend what their situation might feel like
“Look into your own heart; discover what it is that gives you pain. And then refuse, under any circumstances whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.”
– Karen Armstrong
Causes of Weakness
Has had a history of abuse which has hardened one’s heart to others
Has been neglected and has a high need to protect oneself above all else
Has limited emotional intelligence which makes it difficult to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and understand them
Has never experienced true compassion from others and thus doesn’t know how to show it to others
Is very self focused and has a hard time thinking or caring for others
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.
REFLECT: Each morning make it a habit to remember how much you are loved and how God desires for us to love others. Re-commit yourself every morning to doing all that you can to demonstrate love and compassion to those around you.
EMPATHIZE: It is difficult to show compassion for someone else if we first can’t imagine some of what other people are feeling in their difficult situations. Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and feel what they may be feeling.
Look for Commonalities
LOOK FOR COMMONALITIES: Try to recognize what you have in common with others, rather than how they might be different from you. For example, the other person is seeking happiness, trying to avoid suffering and pain, they have known sadness and despair, they are seeking to fulfill their needs, and they are still learning about life. These kinds of commonalities make it much easier for us to understand others and show compassion towards them.
FREEDOM: Pray and ask God to give you a heart for people. Reflect on how much you would like the other person to be free of their pain or suffering. The more you pray and meditate on such things, the more compassion you will feel toward others.
Acts of Kindness
ACTS OF KINDNESS: Think about small acts of kindness that you could show toward another person that might help ease their suffering, even if only in a small way. See if you can make this a daily practice or habit.