How you can show compassion for the hurting

How you can show compassion for the hurting

The gift of compassion is a wondrous thing.

God wants us to be compassionate towards people. He wants us to help those who are hurting.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph 4:32).

Have you ever tried to share a hurt with someone only to have it minimized by their dispassionate, flippant, thoughtless reply?

It doesn’t feel good, does it? So, don’t do it to others.

However, we do not have to be strong in a mercy gift to show compassion for someone. Just think how you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed, and act accordingly.

This is the golden rule:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you (Matt 7:12a, NIV).

We can all learn compassion.

Having been a pastor for many years, I have noticed that church people struggle with showing compassion. It does not come naturally to all.

In times of difficulty, we all need compassion, even when we are to blame for our situation or have made a mistake costing us dearly.

How difficult it seems to be for people to show compassion to others without including their own suffering. Someone shares a hurt with you and you are already off telling them how you suffered before their sentence is even finished.

No, that is not compassion!

To listen patiently is compassion.

To feel deeply for another person is compassion.

To express this deep feeling as empathy means you would say something like:

“I don’t know what to say, but I am here for you”.

“I can’t imagine how this feels, and I am hearing you”.

My definition of compassion would be: to truly see someone in their suffering.

How do we comfort others?

How do we show compassion or mercy to those who are hurting?

Here are 10 ways to express comfort:

  1. Be present
  2. Do not think you have to know what to say
  3. Do not use trite phrases
  4. Put yourself in their place
  5. Show your heart
  6. Say caring words
  7. Sometimes say nothing at all
  8. Keep showing up
  9. Think of practical, kind things to do
  10. Do not ignore the person or the situation

When my daughter was experiencing infertility and mourning over lost pregnancies, she often commented on the crazy things people said to her.

Be aware of unthinking, uncaring and judgmental statements.

Weigh your words well.

You can even practice on a friend or a spouse before you go to make that compassionate visit to a cancer sufferer. Rehearse what you can say that will be profitable and caring.

People who are in need of comfort do not want to hear your ‘good advice’

or empty words of platitudes such as ‘God only takes the good ones’

or ‘you must be very special for God to allow you to suffer’, etc.

Face it; you really don’t know what the hurting person is experiencing inside.

You may even have been through the same kind of suffering, such as losing a loved one, but you don’t know how that person is feeling inside.

You only know how you felt inside at the time.

For you to show compassion and for it to be felt and experienced by the other party, you have to be fully present in the conversation.

Be really there, focused in body and mind on what they are saying.

This is the greatest gift you can give another human being. Your attention, your time, your focus on that person and their suffering brings relief to their aloneness.

It expands my world to know someone has heard me. I am not alone. You may not be able to relieve my suffering, but I am not alone.

How have you felt compassion shown or not shown to you when you have been in need and how has it made you feel?

Leave a comment and join the conversation.



You Don’t Have to be Perfect to Find Your Voice in the World

At last! I have got my blog up and running.

It’s been a journey to get to this place. It’s been a good journey, but a distance to travel nonetheless. This is a place to write my heart out, to share with you and to serve you.

I find myself writing blogging notes on my iphone, my ipad, pieces of paper, documents on my laptop, and generally overflowing everywhere. I sometimes even sit in my dressing room at night (when I am supposed to be sleeping, and so as not to wake the man of my dreams), and think and write.

So I write to reflect, to learn, to grow, to live, to lead and to share that journey with you. I blog about leadership, coaching and women’s issues.

A Small Part of My Journey

Cancer has been, and continues to be the uninvited stranger in our home for nearly eight years now.

My husband was diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer in the same week my father died and my daughter miscarried twins, conceived through in vitro fertilization.

There were times I wanted to cry out, to be left alone, to wallow in self-pity. I struggled with issues of faith and God’s sovereignty.

I have asked, what was the purpose in all of this?

Leaders Lead

In this time period, my husband and I were studying leadership from a biblical perspective and this is what I came to see:

  • That leaders grow exponentially through times of trouble and suffering
  • That leaders are in God’s crucible often, being refined and purified
  • That leaders continue to lead when they are being pressured
  • That leaders search out biblical answers to difficult questions
  • That leaders continue in the grace of God no matter what the season
  • That leaders glorify God in the whole of life
  • That God’s ultimate purpose for a leader is her own salvation

Since that time period in my life I have completed a Masters degree in leadership and coaching and continue to pursue hard after God and his will in my life.

Find your Voice

I also want to share with you that for many years did not consider myself a leader in my own right, even though:

  • I was raising children (leading their hearts and choices every day)
  • I was leading ministries in the local church (as the pastor’s wife)
  • I was leading the women’s ministry in the church
  • I was learning and growing in my leadership style
  • I was adding value to all I did through who I was

I had to come to the place of taking charge of my personal leadership development, and stop making excuses for who I am.

So while my journey is about me, it’s also about you (see 2 Cor 1:3-5). I am passionate about seeing others develop in the Lord Jesus Christ into their gifts, and reach more fully into their potential in all the phases of their lives.

What is your voice in the world, and how do you want to use it?

Leave a comment and let’s talk.