comments 8

the thing about compassion…

…it’s more feisty than you think.

until this weekend, i understood compassion as a ‘there, there’, tea and sympathy kind of attribute. it was also something i didn’t think i had much of. clearly, i had the wrong definition.

this weekend, i heard michael ramsden speak. it was gripping and witty and i was on the edge of my seat for most of the hour. he had some fantastic points (if you would like to watch the lectures click here) but his definition of compassion is what rocked me.

he defined compassion as a deep conviction that something is wrong. so deep that it moves you to do something about it. i had never heard compassion described this way, and the definition has completely changed my view of god and myself.

compassion is feisty! it’s not weak and actionless like i thought. it is full. full of a deep, almost instinctive sense of justice. full of awareness of the world around you and the injustices in it. and–this is the part that got me–it is full of action. compassion is not empty, like so many other claims and promises that are made. it is not a quick, ‘oh isn’t that terrible’, then onto the next thing: the coffee shop, facebook–anything more comfortable to think about. compassion is powerful. true compassion stops you in your tracks. compels you to respond before carrying on.

compassion is the ‘mother bear’ syndrome i have deeply rooted in my heart. compassion is the resounding, ‘this is not okay!’ that has fueled revelutions and movements. compassion is the brave and glorious, ‘something must be done about this’ that put jesus on the cross. god did not look on us and think, ‘oh for goodness sake, someone has to clean up this mess, i suppose i will.’ he looked at us in our mess and was like, ‘this is not okay. they are better than that. i have to do something to right it. not matter what it takes.’

better yet, his compassion is not only channelled at the victims. he is just as passionately fighting for the redemption of the victim AND the culprit. (phew!)

i love that about god.

happy friday!




  1. Matt Peacock

    Excellent my friend… a nice read for the beginning of my day. M

  2. Cindy MacIlvaine

    You are so compassionate! Don’t you see the word “passion” written all over you? I love your heart. Thanks for encouraging your mama today! Especially the last bit about God and our sin.

  3. lisa trompeter

    Thank you for sharing that Sarah. i look forward to simmering in it.

  4. Rebecca

    so good and so so true! I’m tweeting the definition–haa love you girl! 🙂

  5. Sandy Stearns

    Hi Sarah!! I really enjoyed your writing on compassion, especially since we are in the process of starting Stephen Ministry and talking a lot about compassion. Loved your definition…

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