THE LIFE OF COMPASSION
Jesus is the ultimate bodily expression of the Father. His entire life was lived pleasing God the Father and bringing all men to the place of Living In Father’s Expression. In this column, we celebrate the LIFE and ATTRIBUTES of Jesus and how they apply today to our daily life on earth. We celebrate Mindfulness and Compassion.
Compassion, for many, means sympathy and pity for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Even the dictionary has the same definition. However, I do believe this interpretation or definition of compassion is way too lean and dry. It just doesn’t feel complete. I prefer something deeper and much more interesting to both the giver of a compassionate act and the receiver of such acts. I mean something much more engaging than just a transient show of ‘I have something for you because of your suffering’ etc.
Life is made up of various aspects of human relationships and the way the heart is put to use for the thriving of such relationships is key in defining compassion. We now live in a world where much goodness has been thrown out of the window and unkindness has taken a bigger root in the hearts and minds of people. So much so that it now looks strange and even embarrassing to see someone show an act of kindness towards another person. Or at best, the act of kindness is simply another excuse for a selfie for Instagram and Facebook posts. It even gets weirder in this our gay-laden society when a man shows such acts of emotional kindness to another man. Or when a woman does the same to another woman. Such acts suddenly raise dumb questions, which often have dumb answers. My point is, how did we humans get to the point where acts of kindness, goodness and compassion have become acts of weirdness or a tool for getting Facebook likes?
I do dislike the idea of compassion being seen as some form of pity or sympathy towards someone. The point at which it becomes a pity thing really makes the receiver of such acts of compassion feel less of themselves and the giver big headed and ignorant of what compassion is supposed to do. At least at some level. Compassion is really not a concept that tries to do good when there is a need for it. It’s a lifestyle of purity and godliness laced with kindness. A simple beautiful heart that just loves to pour out goodness to others, whether there is need for it or not. It’s like having the good heart of a child who never even recognizes when it’s time to do good or not. Children just pour out of the abundance of their sweet good hearts, without expecting anything in return. (Well, maybe these days, children have also begun to learn negative heart attitudes, which they pick up from their parents and adults around them. The internet is full of such acts of negative learnings. But there is hope.) In other words, compassion is first the beauty of the giver’s heart rather than the fulfillment of a need in a receiver.
Like I had said earlier, I do not necessarily love to see the act of compassion as some act of pity for another’s situation, but rather as a lifestyle of pure goodness.
From this point, let me share my own definition of compassion. I see compassion as a combination of two words, which are: Passion and Communication. Passion here refers to the deep, heartfelt reason behind a motivation, action or situation. It is not the way the world has defined it to refer to the more sensual and carnal desires of a man. The concept of Passion and
Communication simply tries to see compassion from the place of communicating deeply with the heart or the passion of a person. Meaning, for me, compassion is simply passionate communication. It goes beyond just a pitiful response to the pitiful circumstances a person is going through, to a more enduring and accurate response to real things.
Let me put it this way. Most people really don’t know what they need from others. For instance, a man, because he is broke, sits on the side of the street begging for alms. He may genuinely receive some alms based on pity that others have for him, but it will only take a person with true compassion (Passionate Communication ability) to really communicate with this man’s passion or the depth of his heart to know that what he really needs is not alms like a beggar, but a true voice to speak to his weak heart and weary self esteem, to help him hold on to the truth of Who God says he is, that he is more than a beggar. You see what I mean? It takes a deeper concern and real time engaging communication to resolve deeper issues, far from “I can see you have needs and you are begging, so take this one dollar and be good.”
From the story of Jesus and the man at the pool of Bethsaida, we see a clear example of this concept of compassion. Jesus knew the man had been at that pool for 38 years and thus needed urgent help. The man on the other hand wanted to be healed of his sickness but through the way it has always been, when the angel comes to stir the pool. Jesus however had a different communication with his heart or passion. He, Jesus, wanted him to have his healing immediately without having to wait for the next time the angel came to stir the water. And also Jesus knew that healing this man on that day which happens to be a Sabbath day would be a good excuse to deal with the Pharisees who upheld the law of ‘thou shalt not work on the Sabbath day’, and that’s exactly what He did. He didn’t just see the 38 year need of the man, but the eternal need of those who thought obeying the law was meant to continue even after He, the Lord of the Sabbath, had arrived. Another example is Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. Jesus knew that she didn’t need prayer to receive a better husband after having six; neither did she need physical water from the well, but a connection to that Divine Husband who would cause a spring of the water of life to flow from her heart in an instant. And as the story concluded in John 4, we see how the new flow of the wellspring of life within her brought a whole city to Christ. We see this act of compassion again in the story of the man at the Beautiful Gate. He expected alms from Peter and John as they were entering the temple, but instead of giving him silver or gold, they gave him what he really needed – healing. That’s true compassion. It is engaging, time taking and very heartfelt. The way of compassion goes beyond some pitiful response to some pitiful situations. There is what is deeper in every man’s heart that only those who can communicate with such hearts can unravel.
Many years ago, the Lord asked me if I knew the reason why there is lots of trouble and weirdness in our world. Of course I didn’t have any answer to give Him. So He said it’s because men do not meditate on other men. Now that was the strangest answer for such a popular question. For in my head we are supposed, according to the Bible, to meditate on the word of God. But seeing my confusion, the Lord went ahead to explain that man is also the word of God made flesh just like He, Jesus, was the word of God made flesh. For the same word of God that said a virgin shall be with child and shall give birth to the Messiah (the word of God that became flesh) also said, let us make man in our own image (the word became flesh when God made man in his own image in the beginning). In other words, there is lots of evil and trouble in our world because men have stopped being selfless. We simply have stopped being humans. We can’t even for once think about the success or progress of another person not to even talk about practically being part of it. Especially when we have no personal gain from such thoughts. But this is the way of compassion that comes from selflessness and a true heart of Mindfulness. We must learn again how to think and meditate on others. Life was never meant for each one to live on an island of some sort, but that through love, compassion, mindfulness, kindness, goodness and brotherhood, we all can rise to our best potential. I am not saying I have perfected this reality in myself, but if you ask me, sincerely speaking, I spend my day thinking of others more than I think of myself, even if I don’t have the many resources needed to fulfill whatever it is I am thinking about them.
For Afrika to rise to her true potential as the land of the sound of God, what makes for godliness must be embraced once more. For if we don’t embrace that which makes for godliness and righteousness before God, the next generation of Afrikans will not have a base or foundation to rise and build upon.
Think about it.
It’s interesting to note that an American businessman has launched a project to teach children in school about compassion. Are these the nations that Afrika is trying to model herself against? To come to the point where compassion is no longer a natural outflow of who we are along the lines of Ubuntu and be forced to turn compassion into a theoretical subject in a classroom, is a crisis.
This means that children in the US are lacking role models to emulate, which is their primary way of learning; to see an adult or a peer modeling behavior and to imitate them. We must deeply examine our culture and urgently address the cracks we have allowed to form.