Heaven help us, I know that if you are “out there” looking, you are getting scads of input on compassion. Especially if you are willing to look at the Buddhists sites. This is because though there have been a lot of things going on in Southeast Asia, the basic thrust of Buddhism has always been kindness, and the current Dalai Lama, is emphasizing compassion and kindness altogether.
I suspect that for me, the saddest thing of all is that Y’shua taught this to his followers also, it just got lost in all of the other stuff that the “church” seems to have thought worth the arguing. It wasn’t, it never will be. All of the other stuff, the style of baptism, or the style of church leadership, those are all temporal things, and have nothing to do with the development of your eternal soul. When Y’shua said, “Love one another as I have loved you!”, and repeated it many times throughout his teaching career, and said it in a thousand different ways, he wasn’t just talking to hear the wind in his throat. He meant it.
If we learn to care about one another, and by this I mean to learn to respect one another so that we give when giving is needed, and give space when that is needed, we will be following his clearest and best teachings. That business about giving space when it is needed, that is just as important as all the things or hugs you can give. Now, I don’t mean to just move on and let Joe stand on the street corner shivering in the cold, that is not acceptable, unless you have offered warmth and Joe said “No thank ye.”
But, then you have to ask, “Why did Joe not want to be warmer?” Was it because we really weren’t “giving”? Probably. If there are strings attached in any way, we are not giving from compassion. We’re advertising our version of God just as though we were a part of the money making corporate world. True compassion reaches out to Joe with what he needs and asks nothing in return. Now, I am not saying that giving that kind of kindness is easy. If it was, we wouldn’t have to learn to do it, would we? We would practice it out of hand. No, giving that kind of compassion and kindness is extremely difficult.
When we give in that manner, we are leaving Joe’s belief system in place, and maybe his culture in place, and asking him only to receive what we give. Yet, that very act, though slower, perhaps than the zealot stance of asking payment for the “gifts” we give with a change in their outlook, operates as a “witness”. You can do so much more if you give this way. Yes, make what you believe open, discuss it if asked, but do not push it down people’s throats. Then, they might actually believe you gave out of the goodness within you rather than out of some avaricious intent. Just a thought.