COMPASSION is a heart that believes in another’s best when they feel they’re the worst. We all have such times when we feel worthless and useless, and who we need is someone with compassion; that they might genuinely see us, as we are, as worthy individuals of esteem in, and especially in, God’s company.
Sometimes we cannot impress those around us and this, for some, makes life deplorable. Then there are times when we have failed, or been betrayed, or when we suffer loneliness and loss.
Here are eleven ways to develop within us the heart of compassion for others:
1. Find someone worse off than you and pray for that person. Really meditate on where they are at. Ask God that they feel enriched in some good way.
2. Find someone who disagrees with you and agree with them. Take their side.
3. Learn about a part of the world you previously had no idea about. Find a part in their existence where they are less fortunate than you. Pray God fuse that in your mind and watch how the Spirit works.
4. Where another has an issue with you, go to them, and make peace.
5. Reverse your understanding. Stand in the other person’s shoes. Go deliberately against your feelings. Stay there for a time. Watch your heart soften.
6. Using your will, forgive someone you have loathed for some time. Forgive an act using your simple ability to decide.
7. Imagine some of the ways you’ve hurt God, and quietly recount these before him in prayer. Feel your heart heal in the process.
8. Notice the person you’ve favoured. Notice the person you’ve dissed. Notice how partiality has coloured your perspective away from compassion.
9. Go to a museum or take a history course or watch a history documentary on YouTube. Enjoy feeling smaller than you normally feel. Enjoy with gratitude the simple nature of being alive on the cusp of time.
10. Give someone your fullest attention, and keep doing so.
11. Make a study of God’s grace. Learn something new about what you may already know well.
Hearts of compassion make a difference in the world, but not so much in terms of innovative advocacy.
Hearts of compassion make this difference: they honour God in the small matters of simply being true in the moment.
Hearts of compassion see through the lens of God with magnificent acuity. This is because they have thrown off the self and put on love. Can there be any better way to live? No, it’s the abundant life is this!
© 2015 Steve Wickham.