Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
Recently, I had a discussion with a man who was concerned that he seldom felt compassion toward others. Trauma from his past accounted for much of his present struggle. I explained to him that compassion and love are not feelings but actions. We show compassion and love to others which invoke feelings, but compassion and love require dedication and sacrifice. Where does this notion come from? Consider Paul’s description of love from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4-7:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Patient, kind, humble, considerate, measured in temperament, encouraging, truthful, forbearing, faithful, hopeful, and persevering—these are all actions words that demonstrate love. Interestingly, the Hebrew root for compassion comes from the root word, rehem, which literally means “womb” and points to the idea of motherly love. In practice, compassion is undergirded by a love expressed in pain—like that of childbirth. And there’s no better example of “showing compassion by a love expressed in pain” than that of Christ on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
With Valentines Day just two weeks away, let’s not only show love to those near and dear to us but let’s also take action and show compassion and love to the lost and the unlovable just as our Savior has shown to us!