One of my dearest memories from childhood goes like this…
My family was taking care of our good friends’ two children. Their oldest son was practically my best friend at the time. We did everything together.
I was about five-years-old then and I refused to take naps when the others did. So, while my friends and sister got to stay up “late” and have a snack, I was confined to my pajamas and lights out in the bedroom.
I was sad and moping to be sure when my friend crept into the room. He was four-years-old — a year younger than I. He knew I’d wanted some of the snack.
“Here, Liz,” he said, reaching out his little hand. “I brought you some.”
My friend didn’t have to bring me a treat, but he did. He showed grace for my bad behaviour and risked getting into trouble for me. He was generous and giving of himself. I call it compassion, when I look back on that memory now.
However, compassion can oft be hard to give. Whether it’s an irate customer or a hard-to-work-with-co-worker, a younger sibling or an distanced friend, I deal with a definite choice everyday. Will I roll my eyes or shall I show compassion today?
Because compassion is hard. It isn’t just about “being nice” or making friends. It is much, much more.
It is patient. And gentle.
Compassion is generous, not withheld love.
It is not proud nor does it envy.
Compassion is full of grace. It is about giving second chances and forgiving and remembering the blood of Christ. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs or repay evil for evil.
At its fullest, compassion is unconditional. Agape love. We call God compassionate and so He is. This is the model we live up to.
I wonder if my friend still remembers that time when he brought me a treat — probably not. But I sure do. And that compassionate gift made a profound affect on my little soul. Because even today, a five-year-old’s compassion inspires me.
So let us live lives of love. Let’s fill our hearts with compassion for the world. For everyone.