Tuesday, February 28

A reading pointed out to me.

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)

From this verse, I would like to focus on one idea, one word - compassion.  Compassion is from the Old French, leading back to the medieval latin (com-pati, to bear together, to suffer together)  In the original greek, the word used in the verse is εὔσπλαγχνος.  Translated as tender-hearted or compassionate, it comes from εὔ -"good", σπλαγχνος - "visceral organs/guts".  A much more literal translation would be living with guts and I think that centers on what being compassionate is. 

It's gutsy.  

How much easier it is to ignore the sufferings of others, to judge them and to turn away from them.  The truth is that it is hard.  It is hard not to judge, to accept others for who and where they are.  It is much easier and safer to isolate yourself from the 'other', from society and from those who need help.  And that brings me to the second point about compassion.

Compassion is to 'bear with', not 'to fix'.  It isn't about 'making it all better' with some magic wand, but to acknowledge the person where they are, in their suffering, and walk with them through it.  In that way it is the essence of being Christ-like, for He did just this, meeting people where they are, being with them in both good times and bad and showing them the way back to G-d.

Love God, love your neighbor.  Live with guts.

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