Matthew 25:35 - 40 (NIV)
35 For I was an hungry, and you gave me something to eat: I was thirsty,
and you gave me something to drink: I was a stranger, and you invited me in:
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me: I was sick, and you looked after me:
I was in prison and you came to visit me:
37 Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and
feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
40 The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
This Lent, we challenged ourselves in thought, word and deed to love like Jesus. We’ve explored what it means in terms of gratitude, giving, and letting go. But the discussion is incomplete without contemplating compassion. Love without compassion is an anchored ship, trapped in the harbor.
Compassion softens our hearts, and opens the door to understanding. The kind of understanding that helps us put aside our own agenda for the benefit of someone else. When we feel compassion toward another, we open our hearts beyond the limitations of judgment or emotional safety nets, into the vast wilderness of Love.
But compassion is more than a feeling. When put into practice, compassion is our guide for engaging lovingly, with loved ones and strangers, the weak, the suffering, the vulnerable, and even those we find hardest to love.
How can we practice compassion?
When we serve, we nurture one another and ease each other’s burdens. What more can you do to help those in need? How can you bring the spirit of compassionate service to your everyday commitments? In great acts and small, Jesus showed us that when we serve others, we are serving God.
One of the simplest expressions of compassion is kindness. Leave a note of appreciation for your waitress. Be friendly in your interactions. When you see someone in need, help. Small acts of kindness lift us up and make us feel loved.
When we perceive ourselves as victims, we naturally want to assign blame. We may feel righteous in our view, so we armor up to battle the enemy. In this type of war, the winner is the one with inner peace. For true resolution, we must find compassion for the person who hurt us, andforgive.
How will you use compassion to guide you on your spiritual journey?