Tim Truzy is a minister in a Christian church, and he has participated in other religions.
Compassion and Love go Together
Extolling the virtue of mercy is crucial in most religions. Indeed, mercy and compassion are synonyms. However, the quality of compassion arises from an awareness of suffering and the desire to end it. Compassion is not pity, but it is the ability to recognize someone is having difficulties coupled with a desire to reduce it. Essentially, mercy is not thinking you are better than another. Demonstrating this personal characteristic involves comprehending we are all human and everyone needs help now and then. Compassion is a key element of love. For these reasons, religious texts like the Bible offers guidance on behaving mercifully.
In fact, the Bible mentions compassion and mercy nearly three hundred times in the King James Version. As an ordained Christian minister, I often assist others with understanding the concept of compassion while practicing accordingly with love. Below are nine Bible verses concerning mercy from the King James Version. Also, I explain what other religions say about compassion. Finally, some ideas for acting with mercy in your life are provided.
Nine Bible Verses About Love and Compassion
- 1 John 3:17: “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
- 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
- Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
- James 5:11: “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
- Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
- Lamentations 3:32: “But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.”
- Mark 6:34: “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”
- Philippians 2:3: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
- Zechariah 7:9-10: “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.”
What Do Other Religions Say about Compassion?
Truthfully, the Bible is rich with verses pertaining to compassion, but other religions also advise practitioners on the subject as well. For example, Buddhism describes compassion as the ability to bear the pains of others with insight. Without doing so, a Buddhist cannot obtain enlightenment. Furthermore, in the writings of Abdu’l-Baha, one of the founders of the, Baha’I faith, followers are encouraged to recognize moral instruction is more important than book learning for children because the well behaved child brings benefits to others. However, practitioners of the faith are encouraged to help the child grow up with both types of education. Coincidentally, Chinese traditional religions, such as Confucianism, remind people to be merciful to others.
The Importance of Compassion and Love in the Christian Faith
In essence, most religions value compassion like Christians. Throughout the New Testament in the Bible, Jesus Christ offers love and understanding to His Followers. For instance, in the Book of Mathew, verses 4:22-23, Jesus healed the sick. In the same book, we learn He fed a multitude with limited resources of fish and loaves of bread. Jesus Christ cured blindness and ended leprosy among a group of individuals as well. In the Bible, Christians are informed He raised the dead; but the most important act of compassion and love Performed by Jesus Christ was dying for our sins so we may live eternally with God.
Although we may not have the abilities of Jesus Christ, we do have the capacity to be loving and merciful. Thinking of others and acting in kindness seldom cost us financially and often alleviates suffering in others. Giving your time to someone through a loving act is probably the best way to exhibit compassion. Perhaps, this is why all of the major religions speak of mercy as a positive attribute for men and women to strive for in life. After all, most religions inform us God is compassionate, and we want to show behaviors and attitudes pleasing to Him.
In addition, we are creatures of habit. Learning to conduct our lives with mercy will become natural with practice. An added benefit will be those around will begin to value your behavior and perform compassionate deeds as well. Let compassion and love be vaccines for the moral illnesses faced by our world. Below are some simple acts of compassion we can do daily; these are not the only acts of mercy we can do, but they are starting points.
Compassionate Deeds We can Do
- Talking with lonely people is a great way to show compassion. I frequently visit nursing homes, discussing many topics with the senior individuals there. We share many laughs and stories.
- Saying the simple phrase, “thank you” may be a way of brightening someone’s day. We never know what another person is enduring. Showing a little thoughtfulness in manners may be the difference between someone feeling of no value or having a wonderful day.
- Hug someone. Hugging has a positive impact on individuals. Likewise, shake someone’s hand. Let them know they are appreciated in this world.
- Helping with chores can also benefit another individual. Walking the dog, grocery shopping, picking up medications, cleaning – completing these tasks may be exactly what someone needs to have a peaceful day.
- Listening attentively and courteously to another’s concerns is still one more way of demonstrating love and compassion. While you are listening, avoid making judgmental comments or being condescending. Such behavior detracts from true compassion and can be taken as offensive.
- Volunteer to read mail or the newspaper for elderly individuals or people with vision loss. You may also take out the garbage, wash dishes, or any number of activities to help a person dealing with chronic illness or a disability.
- Volunteering at shelters for animals also shows a caring heart. You may also wish to assist at your local homeless shelter.
- Bringing food to those who cannot shop for themselves is merciful. People may not know who to ask for assistance when they need help. If you are aware of a need for food, share what you have.
- Assist when a person may need home repairs. You may be able to aid with fixing a loose board, stairs, or simply changing a light bulb. Help some with garden or lawn work.
- Help a single parent with children. Such parents have many tasks to do. Be understanding by helping to pick up children at school, assist with homework, or any other way the parent requires.
- If you have an automobile, you can give people a ride to appointments. Cabs and bus fare can be expensive. Giving them a lift can show kindness.
Education for a Compassionate Society - - BahaiTeachings.org. Retrieved September 1, 2019, from: https://bahaiteachings.org/education-for-a-compassionate-society
Religion in China – Wikipedia. Retrieved September 1, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China
The Importance of Compassion or Karuna in Buddhism. Retrieved September 1, 2019, from: https://www.learnreligions.com/buddhism-and-compassion-449719
© 2019 Tim Truzy