"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." Frederick Buechner

I've been having conversations with a lot of people that are normally very compassionate people. Until compassion looks like something they're not comfortable or familiar with. Then they become....mean, shrill, obstinate. Their compassion only reaches to the poor and needy, not to those in their every day walking around life.
Why aren't we compassionate to those we interact with everyday?


Pete said...

Many times we feel those walking around with us have it better than we do so we don't think they need our compassion. I know I battle with that feeling often and try to break through those thoughts and feel compassion for everyone, but sometimes it's not easy.

Another problem I have is when a problem seems self inflicted I find it difficult to extend compassion. I know they still need compassion, but for some reason I find it difficult.

I think much of it comes from human nature, we feel compassionate for those less fortunate than ourselves, yet we feel people more fortunate don't need our compassion.

But then again, those could just be my own issues. lol. Thanks for bringing it to my attention though. :)

ellenjane said...

Pete, have you ever brought something on yourself? I know I have. I think that those are often the times that those closest to us need compassion the most. The reassurance that no matter what, we will choose to love them. That's what I need when I screw up and fall flat on my face.
It can also be the best time for you to encourage that person to do something different, make a change.

Warning, I'm pulling out a walloping soap box right now :)

I'm really glad that Jesus doesn't withhold compassion and grace from us because we bring it on ourselves. I am no where close to Jesus, but I do think about that when I feel like withholding grace and compassion from some people. (Even though sometimes I still do...)

ellenjane said...

Oh, and about the whole less fortunate thing...I think it depends on your definition of "fortunate". Wealthy doesn't mean fortunate in every sense of the word

Pete said...

I do agree with you that compassion should not be with held, and I'm working on it, I know I have brought tons upon myself! It's a work in progress.

I didn't mean fortunate to be "wealthy" I meant fortunate as family, having a loved one to turn to, etc... Sometimes it means worldly wealth, but sometimes I find myself holding back compassion because I feel it's the job of the significant other, I know it's not right, and I'm working on it, but it takes time. I'm just glad I can recognize what I'm doing now so I can stop myself.

I'm also glad that God doesn't with hold these things too, because I know I've needed compassion at times when I could not find it. Sadly sometimes for the same reasons I found myself holding back.

It's a short but very thought provoking post.