When one looks up the substitute words for “compassion” the list is interesting. The reference I use includes words like sympathy, concern, care, empathy, kindness, consideration. When I do a word picture association the faces that come to mind often share several different attributes in common. They are women, mothers, wives, and engaged in life. Nothing seems to shock them. Sure life is overwhelming at times and it shows in their conversation and demeanor. Granted there are moments when the heat of a discussion with a teenager gets the best of them, but there is a resilience that transcends the individual moment. Each individual held and holds an unfathomable reserve of compassionate love and care.
There were a few, but very few, men on my imaginational wall of images. The lack of men is not a commentary on the circle of friends I have or the people I know. Rather it is a sense that people today, men especially, are caught in a cycle of running towards a unknown goal, chasing unreasonable commitments, and striving to be all that others think they should. Compassion is there, but more in measured quantities and focused actions.
The women on my wall are not like that. If anything “she’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.” (Proverbs 31.20) If there is a need her compassion floods the scene. If someone is hurting sympathy pours unchecked. If a spirit is shattered her automatic response is to reach for the glue of listening, consoling, and putting the pieces back together.
When someone reminds me that God is compassionate I think of my wall of heroes. They stand tall – not because of power, authority, or achievements that the world values. They tower because of their willingness to reach out and comfort, heal, and restore. The heart of compassion always ends up in restoration – a word that merely describes recreation in a different way.
God is compassionate because you and I are his children. We are simply and completely God’s kids. Nothing we can do will change that!