How to Build Compassion in Your Life

We live in a world where we could use more compassion. How can we add to this virtue?

Use the experiences in your life. One reason Jesus was able to express such sympathy for others was by His own experiences. Growing up, His life had been difficult at best. Jesus grew up, lived and died in abject poverty, Luke 2.24; Matthew 8.20. When He died, the totality of His worldly possessions consisted of just the garments on His back, John 19.23-24. Jesus knew all about loneliness, Matthew 14.23; Mark 6.47. He was despised, hated and rejected, John 1.11; Mark 14.50. He even endured severe temptation, Matthew 4.1-11.

What are some experiences you’ve had that can help you relate to individuals experiencing bad circumstances?

Look below the surface. When we observe Jesus, we see Him working with many different kinds of people in many different settings and situations. He knew the faults of everyone He interacted with, but yet He did not let that get in the way of His compassion and expressions of love. Jesus did not look just at that which was apparent on the surface. He saw their deepest needs! He loved them at the deepest level of His being. He was never impatient with them or offended by their needs.

Do we often base our evaluation of a person on what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears? We must learn to look past a person’s exterior and see them as they really are. We must see their needs before we can express compassion to them! May we learn to see them as Jesus does!

How do we see people?

We must learn to resist our human nature. In the beginning, Jesus’ disciples knew nothing of compassion. James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven to punish a Samaritan village that refused to receive Jesus, Luke 9.54. The disciples had little compassion for the people.
• They did not really see them at all.
• They were too caught up in the lives they were living.
• They were not concerned for the people.
• They had no thoughts of reaching outside their circle and helping the people around them.

Can we see ourselves in these men? Do we not battle self-centeredness? Selfishness? Think of the common attitude that says if a matter does not touch our lives or the lives of our family and friends, then it is no affair of ours. Why are we that way? Why did Jesus have to teach His disciples about compassion? Why do we still need the lessons today? The answer lies in the fact that the basic human disposition is filled with selfishness where concern for self is of prime importance. That which does not touch us personally does not matter. That is why Jesus had to teach His men about compassion. That is why we still need the lessons today.

– Matthew Allen
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