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Compassion – a Great Gift



“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)

Business professionals, high-rise office buildings, hustle and bustle surrounded me as I walked toward my destination in downtown Los Angeles a few years back. A well-coifed woman walked a few yards ahead of me, dressed in a business suit and heels.  I watched as she passed a homeless man who sat on the sidewalk, asking for help.

“Good morning!” Her cheerful voice rang out as she looked straight at the man and smiled as she passed him.

I’ve never forgotten her response. While she didn’t give him what he asked for–money–she did acknowledge him rather than treating him as if he were invisible. Like others, I’ve often walked past someone asking for help, eyes averted, acting like the person was invisible.  When she addressed him in a respectful way rather than ignoring him, this woman treated the man with dignity.

Yet Jesus also tells us that if someone is in need and we tell them “be warm and filled” but do nothing practical to help, what good is that? “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” How often have we heard that phrase? How often have we acted on it?

Dr. Kenneth Brantly of Samaritan’s Purse ministered to patients in Liberia and contracted Ebola; Mother Teresa used up her life in service to “the poorest of the poor.” These are just two examples of individuals living out the Golden Rule.

Service often brings joy; sometimes it brings suffering. But it is Christ’s call.

Can you think of a time when you were treated in respectful, compassionate way?

The day after I learned my father was terminally ill, I sat in the waiting room while Mom and my oldest brother, a physician, told Dad his diagnosis. I sat there among strangers, sobbing…and I couldn’t stop. Another woman was on the phone. After she completed her call, she walked over and sat beside me.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“No, I’m not. My father is dying.”

We talked for a few minutes. But I will never forget her kindness and compassion in reaching out to listen and touch when I was hurting. May I follow Christ’s lead and treat others with the compassion He has extended to me.

Have you had, or missed, opportunities to treat someone else as you want to be treated? I’d love to hear your stories.




  1. Joy Schmidt says:

    Oh I’ve wondered that so many times. Why acknowledge someone in need and then walk on without doing anything? Acting on words is much more powerful and compassionate than just words.

    1. carolnl says:

      Very true, Joy. Thanks for your comment.

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