True compassion recognizes that all the boundaries we perceive between ourselves and others are an illusion.
Compassion is the ability to see the deep connection or bond between ourselves and others. It is the very grain that enables us to not only “feel” what another is feeling but also propel us into action on behalf of others. Moreover, true compassion recognizes that all the boundaries we perceive between ourselves and others are an illusion. True compassion knows no boundaries. When we first begin to experience and feel compassion, this very deep level of understanding may elude us, but we can have faith that if we start where we are, we will eventually feel our way toward it. We move closer to it every time we see past our own self-concern to accommodate concern for others. And, as with any skill, our compassion grows most in the presence of difficulty. Compassion, authentic,and selfless compassion, however, is not a feeling that we learn on our own. We can neither train for, nor will it without first realizing our relationship and bond with our Creator… a triune God.
We practice small acts of compassion every day, when our loved ones are short-tempered or another driver cuts us off in traffic. We extend our forgiveness by trying to understand their point of view; we know how it is to feel stressed out or irritable. The practice of compassion becomes more difficult when we find ourselves unable to understand the actions of the person who offends us. These are the situations that ask us to look more deeply into ourselves, into parts of our psyches that we may want to deny, parts that we have repressed because society has labeled them bad or wrong. For example, acts of violence are often well beyond anything we ourselves have perpetuated, so when we are on the receiving end of such acts, we are often at a loss. This is where the real potential for growth begins, because we are, as Christ followers, called to shine a light inside and onto the world and take responsibility for what we have disowned. It is at this juncture that we have the opportunity to transform from within.
This can seem like a very tall order, but when life presents us with circumstances that require our compassion, no matter how difficult, we can trust that we are ready. We can call upon Jesus, the Light of the world, allowing Him to lead the way into the darkest parts of our own hearts, connecting us to the hearts of others in the understanding that is true compassion.
When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life. You must learn to follow that love. Don’t ignore it. Act on it. Somebody needs what you have.