Cultivate Compassion

How is it possible to make compassion the center of our lives? As insecure, anxious, vulnerable, and mortal beings—always involved, somehow and somewhere, in the struggle for survival—competition seems to offer us a great deal of satisfaction.

Indeed, the main spiritual question is not, “What difference do you make?” but “What do you have in common?” It is not “excelling” but “serving” that makes us most human.

Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 116). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, Help us to fully realize your compassion in our lives. As we learn to trust in Your unconditional love, help us to share this same love as a servant to other souls. Amen

Since compassion means to “suffer with”, this means sharing in pain. Personal pain is something many people keep hidden or unexposed due the vulnerability of being hurt again.

It’s been said of Henri Nouwen that people connect with him because he shares his vulnerability

What areas of our lives are we most afraid to expose… or you might ask, where do we feel the most vulnerable?

Is it wise to expose this vulnerability to everyone?

Have you exposed yourself at some point in your life, only to have someone abuse this trust?

Is there a person or experience in life where you exposed your vulnerability and they brought understanding, comfort and love to your situation and soul?

I ask these questions to consider as we explore the opportunities to love others following the example of God’s compassion.

Do you believe that God suffered with His Son as Jesus was abused and hung on the cross?

Do you believe that God suffers with us… does God share in compassion when we need our Lord’s love the most?

Last week’s theme was prayer. Please take some intentional time to share with God the areas in our lives where we feel the most vulnerable. Allow God’s love through the Holy Spirit to comfort us and be with us.

If we are to be compassionate, others must feel confident they will not be hurt as they share their pain. How are some ways that you can build people’s trust?

In a safe environment, would you trust this person with your pain?

Please consider when sharing pain to avoid the temptation to offer advise, often well intended advise. Rather consider sharing understanding and unconditional love.

2 thoughts on “Compassion—which means, literally, “to suffer with”…

  1. I am learning and relearning from Nouwen. His vulnerability in this chapter on compassion struck a chord – “need for affirmation, fear of rejection…” identified needs I feel too but am reluctant to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The need for affirmation and the fear of rejection are seemingly two of the most underlining characteristic of humanity.It’s interesting to me how these play out in our relationships with others and how we carry these into our relationship with God!


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