It’s easy to provide for those we care for and natural for parents, especially, to want to lavish love, attention and gifts on their children. This is a biblical pattern after God’s own heart. Yet we can miss such a lot if we don’t slow down sometimes, really notice what is going on around us – not just within our own circles – and act with compassion. Though we may prefer to close our eyes to the fact, there are a lot of needy people out there who are desperate for help and attention.
How are we supposed to act or react to their need? Let’s try not be quick to judge or condemn others. It can often take something shocking in our own lives (or those close to us) to wake us up to the fact that at times we can all be hurting people who need to be recognised as such and given appropriate help and support.
“Love cannot be divided. If it is genuine it serves God and the neighbour in the same act. Or better, it sees God in the neighbour and the neighbour in God” ~ Carlo Carretto
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish” ~ Henri Nouwen
A few months ago I had an opportunity to show compassion towards someone and, I’m ashamed to say – I completely flunked it.
I was tucked up in bed while my Other Half sat downstairs, relatively immune to the sound (due to wearing headphones when listening to music/films at his preferred volume). I lay there listening, wondering what to do. How could I (seriously weakened by M.E and chronic sickness) go outside in my PJs in the cold – to find goodness knows what – and assist a guy who was potentially drunk and disorderly?
Should I alert my man? He would definitely be concerned, yet wary and worried about getting involved because of his crippling social phobia. Ordinary, everyday encounters are hard enough for him – never mind this. He may be a hero to me in his daily love and care but he was far from ‘Superman saves the day’ material.
- Comforting a friend – or anyone in need.
- Visiting – the sick, lonely, bereaved, elderly or housebound.
- Sending cards – to let others know we remember them.
- Being a listening ear – for a friend or stranger.
- Giving our time and attention – especially when it’s inconvenient to do so.
- Taking action – to encourage and support others.
- Giving practical help – according to our abilities.
- Praying for – the needs of others.
- Preparing a meal – for those unable to face the task or without the means to do so.
- Volunteering – to assist in a community outreach whether local, national or international.