Compassion and Basic Human Value

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If you look up compassion in the dictionary, you will see the following definition: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. The construct of compassion is not clearly defined in psychological literature. We define compassion as a feeling of sorrow or concern for another person's suffering or need accompanied by a subsequent desire to alleviate the suffering. Compassion is an emotion: a short-lived feeling that anyone may experience. We expect, however, that there are specific conditions in which people will be more likely to feel compassion, that there are differences in individual feelings of compassion, and that many people and cultures may view compassion as a basic human value.

If I see someone in pain or someone struggling, my first instinct is to help, to listen, to be there. I will be there if someone needs help, if someone needs an ear, if someone just needs someone to acknowledge that they're here and that their gripe is valid. I would rather live like that. It doesn't always make life easier though. The Bible tells us of the compassionate acts that Jesus performed and His teachings about this topic. Jesus extends mercy and compassion to us for our bodily needs and specifically uses them to show His great power to overcome these weaknesses. We are more aware of our physical circumstances than we are of our spiritual conditions. Although we naturally reject His offer of mercy, we should understand that the opportunity to receive spiritual help from Jesus is more important than what is required for our physical bodies. The experiences that Jesus had with confronting earthly temptations and suffering puts Him in a unique position to help us. And by his example, we are commanded to be merciful and compassionate to one another.
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