Compassion is a wonderful salve for relationships. The word means to feel what another person is feeling. It’s different from empathy, while empathy is the gateway to compassion, to be empathetic is to understand how someone feels and try to imagine how that might feel for you - it’s a mode of relating.
Compassion takes it further. It's feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action. At least this is what it means for our human relationships.
How much more depth of feeling and capacity does God have for compassion? A lot more. So much more that God’s compassion never, ever fails us. We have to get this reality deep in our bones as we relate to the Spirit and with others.
Recently, I had a situation with a couple of people with whom I was in a close relationship but over time it became distant to the point of being non-existent. I was at a loss for why, and it kept me up one night rehearsing the details of everything, and struggling to understand what happened, when all at once compassion for them filled my soul.
All at once I could feel how they might be feeling and my heart was filled with peace. I was able to think about ways to connect with them again in a spirit of understanding and gentleness instead of inflammatory remarks that could cause further harm.
The compassion that the Lord fills us with never fails, and will urge us to take actions that lead to peace with ourselves first, and then with others.
Oh compassionate One, I struggle to understand everything that is happening with the people in my life, and sometimes even with myself. As I draw close to you today, I ask you to fill my soul with your compassion for those around me and give me your strength to take action toward reconciliation. Let it be done, and let it be so. Amen.