What do you think of when you read this word? Do you think of pity or empathy? Of sitting down with someone and letting them cry on your shoulder? Maybe you think of Compassion International and sponsoring a child in a foreign country. Maybe you think of Jesus.
When I think of compassion, I think of a trait I really want to define me. In fact, at different, pivotal times in my life, I have made this trait a focus of prayer - that I might be a more compassionate and less judgmental person. I think it is something I will have to intentionally pray about throughout my life.
Recently, I was confronted with a lack of compassion at work. The longer I am in the workforce (especially in my current industry), I see a strong sense of entitlement. Instead of employees coming to me with a request, they come with demands. Instead of thanking me for helping them, the response is more one of "Well, that's my right" or "You owed me." This has become so routine that my responses are often merely polite, if not guarded, when typically they would be more friendly and genuine. Sometimes, I find myself putting certain things off because I don't appreciate the way someone asked for my help. How selfish is that?
A sweet, older woman recently asked me for help with something, and I found myself putting off helping her. Besides it being a very busy week, I don't really know why I was reluctant to help. When I got the answer the next day, I sought her out. After explaining what she needed to do, the woman very graciously and effusively thanked me.
I was surprised. I'm not really used to getting a genuine "Thank you" from an employee outside of my team. It felt good...and it felt bad. I realized that I had succumbed to the whole "I'll treat you the way
you treat me" syndrome instead of treating others as Christ would. I've been acting like a child. Instead, I need to remember 1 Peter 3:8-9:
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.