ENRICHMAG.CA Spring 2013

COMPASSION

by David Hazzard, Editor

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Compassion: Understanding and empathizing in the suffering of others to the extent of providing thoughtful, tangible and meaningful assistance. Compassion is emotive. Compassion is active. Compassion is comprehensive.

Compassion is widely recognized as a desirable human virtue, highly valued in numerous philosophies and considered in almost all major religions.

For Christian believers, compassion is understood as a fundamental characteristic of the Trinity. God is known as the “Father of compassion” and the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7); Jesus not only embodied the very essence of compassion and demonstrated care for people in a variety of circumstances, but challenged His followers (then and now) to transcend self-interest and act in a compassionate manner toward others, especially those in distress; the Holy Spirit compassionately offers counsel, guides into all truth, and convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

Consequently, Christian compassion seeks to address every dimension of suffering, including spiritual suffering. Compassion even feels Christ’s concern with eternal suffer?ing, taking seriously the call to share the good news with all people everywhere. As evangelist George Whitfield once appealed, “If your souls were not immortal, and you in danger of losing them, I would not thus speak unto you; but the love of your souls constrains me to speak: methinks this would constrain me to speak unto you forever.”

This edition of Enrich seeks to explore, celebrate and encourage compassion related ministries that seek to assist people in need.

As a Fellowship, the PAOC engages numerous expressions of compassion. As you read the articles, take a moment and prayerfully thank God for the various ministries included. Allow the real life stories to encourage and inspire you to continue compassionate engagement.

We deeply appreciated the dynamic yet practical ministry of Sam Rodriguez at our last General Conference in Ottawa. Sam is president of the Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a credential holder with the Assemblies of God, USA. His article Mercy Rising: A Call to Love the Immigrant is especially pertinent to ministry in Canada as immigration continues to be a policy of our Canadian government.

We also need to consider how attempts to show compassion have actually added burden to individuals and cultures. Of interest is Steve Boyer’s review of a recently popular book entitled When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself.

And, as George Washington Carver reminds us, we all need compassion. “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

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