Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values
Yesterday How To Express Your Compassion began a series on compassion borne out of pain.
Let me back up a step. For more than twenty years I have struggled to provide caring support for those in need.
You see, I’m a head-guy, more than a heart-guy.
As a cerebral-thinker it’s been a challenge to fit the deep emotional pain of people in pain within my worldview. It’s hard sometimes. Naturally I want to:
– Trace things back to their origin
I want to manage, measure, navigate, unravel and diagnose.
There is a place for those, but when I need compassion to highlight my caring support, I need to tone those down.
Thankfully thousands of patient pain-filled people have poured out their heart and pain to me and graciously God has torn through my proclivities to find a few soft spots that led from my head to my heart.
For each of them, and for each of you let me, let me assert that compassion takes courage.
Compassion takes courage and self-discipline.
One family endured great loss, and the community surrounded them. The grieving father was surrounded by three of his guy-friends for – don’t miss this – seven days and seven nights without saying a word!
“When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him … When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” 1
What’s been most effective when I have tried to provide compassion?
Silence and prayer.
Then when to right moment prompts the person in pain to speak up, listen.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Listen patiently without an agenda.
Listen compassionately without judgment.
We all need to listen patiently, graciously and sensitively; seeking neither to give advice nor to fix people.
Sometimes we do need to speak up.
Tomorrow on mysilentscream: Your Compassion
1 – Job 2:11-13, NIV