Compassion is a necessary quality
This desire to help was perhaps the noblest quality of Christ in his ministry on earth. Not only was he moved by sick and hurting people, but he did something about it by healing them.
And yet, at times Jesus had to flee from the press of the crowds. The wisest person who ever lived, he also knew that he had to be kind toward himself as well.
As singles, we often overlook the second part of the equation. We're too hard on ourselves. Sometimes we're even mean and unforgiving toward ourselves. Our self-talk reveals a shockingly cruel, unforgiving streak. Why do we do that? Why do we beat ourselves up?
We walk a fine line between taking responsibility for our own life, and blaming ourselves for everything bad that has happened to us. In America, especially, we're caught up in an epidemic of comparisonitis. We're constantly comparing ourselves to our friends, to celebrities, co-workers, and siblings.
We seem to have a natural talent for discovering ways that we come up short, then criticizing ourselves for it. But the essence of compassion, as Jesus taught it to us is:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greather than these." (Mk 12:30-31).
Did you catch that? You're to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Have you reached the point in your Christian walk where you love yourself? Are you comfortable with yourself? Or do you try to escape from yourself with music, TV, buying things, or endless cell phone conversations? Can you stand to be alone with yourself, in silence?
Be kind toward yourself. You're not a superperson, and you never will be. But that's all right. That's not what Jesus wants.
He just asks you to have a healthy, forgiving attitude toward yourself so you'll be able to act that way toward others. And surprisingly, the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you'll be able to treat other people.
There's a difference between empathy and desperately seeking approval. Compassion has no ulterior motives. We are considerate of others because it's the right thing to do, and because it's a quality that God desires in us. When we are charitable, we are Jesus for other people. We act as his hands and heart.
Being tenderhearted--for the right reason--makes you more attractive as a person. It lets others see Christ working through you. It makes you stand out in a cold, uncaring world. It brings you, and the people you help, closer to God.
Work at this. Do whatever you can to relieve other people's pain. Be kind and gentle to them.
But first, be compassionate toward yourself.