Compassion versus Indifference
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a 4-year-old child whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who recently had lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”
We should strive to show Compassion and not indifference as we go through life.
A sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help.
Synonyms for Compassion: empathy, sympathy, concern, kindness, consideration, care, benevolence
Antonyms for Compassion: cruelty, harshness, hatred, meanness, indifference, mercilessness, tyranny
What the Bible says about Compassion:
Psalm 86:15 “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”
Zechariah 7:9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘ Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.”
Luke 15:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
Colossians 3:12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”
Hebrews 10:34 “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”
Luke 6:36 “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
1 John 3:17 “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”
Examples from the Bible:
Joseph had compassion on his brothers who had sold him and forgave them.
David had compassion on the crippled Mephibosheth 2 Sam 9
God shows compassion on the wicked people of Ninevah
The Good Samaritan
The Prodigal Son
The Example of Jesus to us:
Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”
Matthew 14:14 “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
The sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross was the greatest act of compassion known.
It is a fact that if you have two pianos in the same room and a note is struck on one, the same note will gently respond on the other, though not touched by another’s hand. This is called “sympathetic resonance.” Application: “Christ’s instrument was just like ours in every way. And hear this! He took that instrument, that body, to Heaven with him. It is his priestly body. And when a chord is struck in the weakness of our human instrument, it resonates in his! There is no note of human experience that does not play on Christ’s exalted human instrument. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” (by R. Kent Hughes)
Personal Application and Thoughts:
Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. –Thomas Merton
When I was a child, my dad would take me to the homes of people he had met during his work day as a telephone repair man. He would take his guitar and we would sing for them. I remember a black lady on the poor side of town with no legs, a blind man who took care of his 60 something daughter who was mentally retarded and totally dependent on him. He also took me into the nursing homes to sing for the elderly. My parents also met a young lady who had been left by her family in a nursing home because she had a stroke from drug abuse. They took her out of the nursing home and provided a home for her until she could make it on her own. A few years later, she got in touch with us and she had given birth to a baby girl that her family took from her. My parents traveled across several states to go get the baby and moved both of them in with us until once again she could make it on her own. They modeled compassion to me.
What would this world be like if there were no compassion? I don’t even want to think about it. Even in children as young as 5 and 6 years of age, the human ugliness of creating groups of Insiders and Outsiders begins to form, and the cruelty of it’s effects begins to cause harm in the formation of a child’s self-image. That’s why it is so important to teach our Children the truth about their worth and value in the eyes of God that is not dependent on their popularity, their talents, their physical attraction, their acceptance by their peers, or their works. We should model understanding of even the wrong doers in our lives, showing compassion to our enemies by praying for them and realizing that their acts of indifference or cruelty or usually fueled by the hurts they have known and/or the coldness in their heart. We should have a deep moving conviction for the lost of this world and desire to show them the love of God. We are the arms, legs, feet, voice, and heart of God in physical form on this Earth. Among Christian brothers, the greatest examples of compassion should be shown as we put aside prejudices and judgements even within our own circles and do not form groups of Insiders versus Outsiders.
The best way to teach your children compassion is to model it to them. Take them around the less fortunate, the handicapped, the poor, the unloved. Teach them that each person is special in God’s eyes and has value. See: http://www.squidoo.com/teach-kids-compassion
Prayer for You: May God fill your heart with a deep compassion for the suffering souls around you. May He help you see past your own prejudices, judgements, or fears to help you be comfortable with reaching out to those who need to know God’s love. May He help you to even see beyond the wrongs committed against you to help you forgive and love your enemies and to pray for the lost.