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  • Writer's pictureAbbess Amanda Sessions+

Compassion in a modern age

Compassion in a modern age

By Mother Amanda Sessions+ OB, OC, OR

In light of recent events in the United States, it has become increasingly aware that there is an ever-growing portion of society that feels marginalized and threatened by those in authority. As clergy, this is alarming to me because clergy are often considered to be in a position of authority. If we cannot be seen as safe and trusted individuals, how then can we truly minister? The answer is simple. We must show compassion and empathy. We must continue to live the word of God and the principles that the life of Christ showed. It is through love that Christ ministered and he showed unparalleled compassion and empathy towards not just the everyday man. He healed those outcast and those judged guilty of sins and crimes by the public that they had not actually committed. He drew into his inner circle those like Matthew, a tax collector, and someone seen as a traitor to his own people. He knew what Judas was going to do and what it would cause and despite his growing anguish over that cost, he forgave him.

What does this mean for applying in practice for us today? It means taking a deep breath before flying off the cuff in pure emotion. It means trying to look at things from another person’s perspective. It means showing someone respect even if they haven’t earned it. Respect their humanity. Respect that regardless of what they have or may have done, they are a child of God. Love that humanity and find the common ground of being a child of God just like you. Let that guide you to showing compassion and empathy in imitation of Christ so that Christ can be seen through and in you.

Does this mean that we should not feel outraged at times? No. Christ was outraged when he was faced with those preying on worshippers in the Temple and drove out the moneychangers. What we should do with our outrage is speak up for the truth. Speak up for the voiceless. Speak up where justice is denied. Before you speak out in anger, take a moment to pray and ask God for the words to say and how to say them in righteous outrage. Be a voice of mercy and love. Be a source of hope. Compassion is a vehicle for God to work through us.

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