Compassion

DD Compassion iconcom·pas·sion (noun): a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering 

"The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.'" (Exodus 34:6-7) (NRSV)

Compassion is an emotive word. It is often associated with a feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the taste of bile at the back of your throat.

It can evoke an emotional reaction and a profound desire to do 'something'to make a difference to a situation.

Compassion is an active word.

It is a compelling word.

It is a powerful word.

 

Compassion and God

"Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart."
(Charles Wesley)

Compassion is also used to describe God. God's relationship with the world and with all people, is defined by love and compassion.

We know God's character through God's grace - and we too are compelled to act in such a way that demonstrates this transformative compassion throughout the world.

 

Grace-fuelled, compassionate, discipleship

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."(Matthew 11:28-30) (The Message)

As well as the 'inward' movement of prayer and piety, discipleship involves an 'outward' movement of social engagement, transformation, compassion and evangelism.

Both movements are part of the "unforced rhythms of grace". Both are necessary if we are to 'keep company with Christ and to learn to live freely and lightly'.

As we learn the unforced rhythms of grace, we develop ways to follow Jesus in the midst of life.

As part of the 'outward movement' of Christian spirituality,acts of compassionincludes responding to the needs of others. This might mean taking part in a soup run, getting involved in needs within the local community, seeking justice and reconciliation, or undertaking a short-term mission project. Such practices help us discover more about God and more about ourselves, and help us respond to the call of God  on our lives.

"just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40) (NRSV)

This section is about equipping and enabling people to know God in their midst, and being confident in recognising the obvious and surprising places in which God is engaged in the work of reconciliation in our relationships, our communities, our country and the world.

A range of areas will help you to develop your thoughts and practices:

 

DD Explore iconIn the Resources section, there are reflections on how we can act with compassion in different areas and aspects of our lives.

 

DD Further Resources iconLinks and more ideas  offers deeper reflections and longer opportunities for training.

 
   

DD Stories icon

Finally, the Stories  section is your opportunity to share your experience, and encourage others on their own journey of transformational, graceful, compassionate, discipleship. 

 

  • ResourcesExploreExplore CompassionRead more  
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