Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What is compassion?

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-

18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.

21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
(Psalm 103 Of David)

David was expressing joy in feeling the compassion and goodness of God.
He had felt God's love and compassion in his life and this psalm was definitely his expression of feeling that compassion from God. David recognized that God understood and cared about our pain and our struggles.
Just as wisdom covers the intellectual or comprehending side of our nature, compassion covers the feeling side of our nature
Compassion is made up of two words. 'co' meaning together and 'passion' meaning a strong feeling. We are compassionate when we feel the pain of others. When we see someone is in distress and we feel their pain as if it were our own, and strive to eliminate or lessen their pain, then this is compassion. So all the best in human beings, all the Godlike qualities like sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring - all are manifestations of compassion.
You will notice also that in the compassionate person, care and love towards others has its origins in care and love for oneself. It is difficult to have compassion for others when we have none for ourselves. We can help others to see God's love in their lives only when we feel God's love for ourselves. We can feel the pain of others when we understand our own pain.
So in trying to walk in Jesus' footsteps, ones own spiritual development blossoms quite naturally from caring for ourselves into concern for the welfare of others. Once we have felt God's love and compassion for ourselves, it is then that we can share that love and compassion with others. You cannot give what you do not feel. You cannot fill others unless you are filled.
Jesus life and ministry illustrates this compassionate spirituality. Jesus could teach about God's love, because he felt it very strongly in his earthly life. He knew first hand about God's love and compassion. His ministry was about sharing this great compassion with those who did not know the feeling of compassion. They had not experienced compassion in their own lives, so they did not know how to share it with others.

Always remember that you are loved by God. Rest your souls in God's loveing compassion.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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