Brian Houston: Sympathy vs. Compassion

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If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:16-17

“Not one time do we ever find Jesus being moved with sympathy; but every time He was moved with compassion something powerful was about to happen—a miracle was on the way. That’s because sympathy identifies with the problem, but compassion gets up, looks up, and says, “I need to do something about this.”

Brian Houston in Daily Readings from Live Love Lead: 90 Days to Living, Loving, Leading (New York: FaithWords, 2016) Reading entitled “Sympathy vs. Compassion” for Day 44.

Why do I feel like for much of my life I have shown sympathy rather than compassion? I think society taught me to rationalize sympathy as sufficient.

The trainings are going well in Guatemala. In part, I think, because of the “do something” part. At GTP we are doing something to train local workers.

I posted a new header photo of Mayan ruins at Mixco Viejo to illustrate that compassion is like rebuilding ruins, doing something about brokenness.

Too often we feel for people but do nothing. For James, the half-brother of Jesus, such faith was not faith at all. Do you show sympathy or compassion?