3/3/16: Understanding Compassion
Certain events happen in our lives by which we mark time. In other words, our present daily lives begin to pivot around that particular happening from the past. This naturally should be the case concerning landmark days such as our wedding and the birth of a child. However, traumatic experiences can have the same result.
Such was my understanding enlightened when I visited New Orleans, Louisiana, for the first time. Four and a half years had passed since Hurricane Katrina devastated that city, but her mark had been as indelibly placed on the people’s hearts as were those painted X’s on the flooded-out homes. The people I met were the kindest I’d ever encountered, yet their conversation was noticeably punctuated by the prepositional phrases “since the storm,” “in the storm,” “before the storm,” or “after the storm.”
I gained a brand new sensitivity for the people of New Orleans because despite the deep pain many still carried, they were rising above and doing their best to move beyond it. They reached out to embrace me. Their graciousness and outpouring of friendliness made me feel just like family. If I had felt sorry for them before, I now felt “with” them because they let me in to their pain and allowed me to become a part of them.
I have a little more understanding of what Jesus Christ was feeling when the Bible tells us, “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” Matthew 14:14 (NKJ).
Compassion is a function of pain. One cannot have compassion on another unless that other has experienced some kind of pain, because to have compassion means we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and feel the hurt they feel. Only the compassionate really “get it.” The love emanating from my new friends in New Orleans taught me how crucial it is to obey the truth of 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (NKJ).
Let’s start today to reach out with compassionate hearts, hands, and words for those still hurting long after the storms in their lives have passed.
©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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