What is the difference between sympathy and compassion? This is a huge distinction that we need to explore if we are going to be faithful disciples seeking to serve the Lord. In this chapter, David shares an experience while on a mission trip abroad. I can attest to the wonderful opportunity to learn but also it being a humbling experience where I question my own service–is it sympathy or compassion? Life experience can teach us many things and helps us be compassionate — sharing suffering with others.
How much do we love? Jesus offered himself on the cross for us completely–without hesitation or reservation. He gave until it killed him so that we may have life. We too are called to do the same living lives of compassion–loving until it hurts us. How do we do that in our lives practically today?
- What do invest my time or finances to? Do they benefit me or others?
- Do I take care of myself first and then look to help others?
- Do I give out of my excess or do I share letting go of my wants and especially my needs?
- How can I live a better life of compassion rather than just sympathy?
These are important questions that we all need to reflect and pray about. The story of the poor widow that begins this chapter illustrates the importance of compassion. She gave all that she had — although it wasn’t much, not even a penny’s worth, but it was more than anyone else that gave because she shared out of compassion and not out of sympathy or seeking praise.
How do you live a life of compassion?