When you hear the word compassion what comes to mind? Being sympathetic towards others? Giving to charity? Helping the hungry?
Compassion is multifaceted. It doesn’t just help those who are being shown compassion either. It can help the one choosing compassion. Showing compassion can make you stronger.
Compassion can mean changing your perspective. This isn’t something I’d like to admit, but I used to think that we needed to help everyone in our own country before helping those in other countries. I became desensitized watching the news of impoverished countries and the same commercials asking for monthly support for a child in need.
My perspective changed when people I know personally went and helped others in another country. Seeing them hold children who get one meal a day somehow makes it real. I was able to let go of how I felt before and look at it in a different way. Being able to change your perspective makes you stronger.
Compassion can mean forgiving others. We can easily forget when someone does wrong or hurts us it is often due to their own internal struggle or problem in their life. The easy thing to do is get offended and react harshly. And what good does that generally do?
The strong thing to do is pause and consider the cause. Next time someone hurts you or lashes out at you, calmly ask them why they are doing this instead of being quick to anger. You might be surprised at how quickly anger can be diffused when you try to get to the root of it.
Compassion can mean doing the little things. Having compassion doesn’t always have to be about some grand cause. You can have compassion in everyday situations. Open the door for the mother pushing the stroller and carrying groceries. Let the person who whipped across the parking lot have the empty space without getting angry. You don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or why they’re in a hurry.
I could go on and on with the little things, but you get the point. Small acts of compassion in everyday life makes you stronger.
Thinking about others instead of just ourselves is not a weakness. I know on social media we really embrace the “take care of you.” That’s fine. We need to take care of ourselves to better help others. Just don’t get so busy focusing on you that you forget to care for others too.
“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Col. 3:12